A western Sydney rugby league player sent off for a shoulder charge went to his car and grabbed a kitchen knife used in the stabbing of a rival player in the neck, police say.
Penrith Brothers player Bradley Wayne Middlebrook, 20, has been charged with affray and reckless wounding in company over the incident following his side’s under-20 community game against Wentworthville Magpies in North Parramatta.
NSW Police Superintendent Darryl Jobson told reporters on Monday that Middlebrook was sent from the field on Sunday for a shoulder charge on another player.
Tensions then spilled off the field, with Middlebrook allegedly returning to a nearby vehicle, grabbing the knife and confronting the 19-year-old victim – a Magpies player – and his 16-year-old and 22-year-old cousins who were spectators.
A brawl ensued, with another 19-year-old man allegedly using the knife to stab the three males, including the Magpies player in the neck.
All three injured remain in Westmead Hospital receiving treatment.
“What we saw yesterday was …. behaviour which is not tolerated in our community, let alone at sporting matches,” Supt Jobson said.
“It seems it spilled from on-field to off-field.”
Several men fled the scene in a Toyota Aurion and a search was conducted with help from PolAir, following which the 19-year-old was arrested at a Cambridge Park home.
He was then taken to Nepean Hospital under police guard for treatment to a cut hand and is likely to be charged with malicious wounding.
Middlebrook, from Kingswood, was arrested at Penrith Police Station just before 8pm on Sunday and his case was mentioned at Penrith Local Court on Monday.
He is on bail to return to court next week.
NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said anyone involved in the North Parramatta brawl will never again play a role in the state league.
Both teams have been stood down pending the outcome of the police investigation.
“The incident is sickening,” Mr Trodden said in a statement.
“Everyone who enjoys community sport at the weekend should expect to be able to do in a safe environment and it is nothing short of appalling that an incident like this has taken place in an area adjacent to where one of our matches was being conducted.”