Group Three Rugby League considers beer ban

Having a beer with Clive: Clive Palmer has a beer with some Taree City supporters last year when he attended a match at the Jack Neal Oval with the then Palmer United Party senate candidate Glenn Lazarus.

Having a beer with Clive: Clive Palmer has a beer with some Taree City supporters last year when he attended a match at the Jack Neal Oval with the then Palmer United Party senate candidate Glenn Lazarus.

BANNING full strength beer and the sale of spirits from all matches run under the auspices of Group Three Rugby League will be discussed at the annual meeting in November.

Group Three secretary Barrie Smith confirmed this yesterday.

This week Port Macquarie Sharks decided to ban the sale of full strength beer and spirits from their home games following an off-field incident that occurred at fulltime of last Sunday's match between the Sharks and Wauchope at Port Macquarie. Group Three Rugby League will review reports from both clubs before deciding what or if further action will be taken.

Mr Smith said if those involved can be identified then they will be barred from attending all Group Three matches. He added if they are registered players, they will also face suspensions.

Group Three president Wayne Bridge is currently overseas with the Country representative team, where he is a manager. Mr Smith said a decision will be made whether the group's management meets in his absence to rule on the matter or wait until he returns later this month.

Mr Bridge was at the Port Macquarie game and he ordered the clubs to make reports.

Mr Smith moved the sale of full strength beer be barred at games at last year's annual meeting but he received little support.

He explained that clubs hold the liquor licence for their home games, not the group.

"It's the clubs that are accountable under the Responsible Service of Alcohol,'' he said.

Mr Smith said the group does put some restrictions in place concerning the opening of bar areas for semi-final matches, where the program is longer than games in the competition-proper. The sale of bottled beer isn't permitted at any game in Group Three while spectators cannot take bottles into the ground.

However, Mr Smith notes that only mid strength beer is sold at NRL games and representative fixtures including the State of Origin.

"If it's good enough for that competition then it's good enough for ours,'' he said.

The Sharks are the first club in Group Three to ban the sale of full strength beer and spirits, although Macleay Valley doesn't sell alcohol at their games.

Alcohol is sold at a number of other sporting fixtures in the Manning, including football, rugby union and hockey.

Mr Smith said it is unlikely there will be any general ban on full strength beer imposed for matches this year. However, he assured the matter will be addressed again at the group's annual meeting.

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