Pitch invaders and ugly brawls mar showpiece AFL game with 50 evictions and two officers assaulted as shocked fan says ‘I’ve never seen so many police at the MCG’
- Pitch invaders struck within seconds of each other at three quarter time
- Brawls broke out in stands, police say more than 50 fans ejected from MCG
- Richmond fan in attendance said officers ‘had their work cut out for them’
Two pitch invaders, violence in the stands and a wave of evictions took the gloss off the showpiece of the‘s celebration of Indigenous Australia at the MCG on Saturday night.
The Dreamtime at the ‘G clash between Richmond and Essendon turned sour from the three quarter time break, when two spectators invaded the pitch – before a brawl broke out in the fourth term.
Victoria Police said more than 50 people were evicted from the ground during the match and two officers were assaulted.
They allege a 21-year-old man bit an officer while being taken away, with another man capsicum sprayed after allegedly punching an officer.
Footage taken by a fan shows security staff struggling to contain a pitch invader dressed in Tigers colours inside the 50-metre arc – then, as the offender is being led away, another person dressed in Richmond gear jumps over the fence and is wrestled to the ground by two more guards.
A violent clash broke out between two groups of men near the Tigers’ cheer squad in the fourth quarter, according to a report in the, and another fan video showed three men being taken out of the ground by police.
A video taken by a fan captured the first pitch invader as security struggled to bring them under control at three-quarter time
As the staff got the first invader under control, a second fan jumped the fence and ran onto the field (top left)
Todd Davey, who took the footage, said the game was a ‘genuine magnet for morons’.
A Richmond supporter at the game told the publication up to seven people were removed from the stands near the Tigers cheer squad.
‘I witnessed at least one physical fight and several verbal altercations,’ the fan said.
I’ve never seen so many police and security at the MCG. They definitely had their work cut out for them.
‘There must have been something in the air last night because people were just crazy.’
One of three fans who were evicted from the stadium by police is seen being led away. No arrests were made but officers are investigating an assault outside the ground that injured three men, with one going to hospital
The pitch invasions and violence marred an otherwise great Dreamtime at the ‘G match, which Richmond won by 32 points (Tigers star Dustin Martin, pictured)
Police blamed fans drinking heavily before the game for the violence.
‘We did see what appeared to be higher levels of alcohol consumption and aggression. It was noticeable that ‘pre-loading’ of alcohol prior to the game was significant in contributing to more incidents of poor crowd behaviour than usual,’ said Inspector Jamie Templeton.
Officers are investigating an assault that occurred outside the MCG and injured three men, witch one taken to hospital.
The incidents occurred against the backdrop of a great Dreamtime at the ‘G match won by Richmond, whose players got involved in the pre-game War Cry in what was one of the biggest highlights from the Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Richmond midfielder Marlion Pickett played a part in designing the guernsey the Tigers wore on Saturday night and took part in the pre-game ceremony, despite being banned for a week for rough conduct.
Speaking on Fox Footy, former Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown described the celebration was one of the highlights of the season and highlighted the significance of Pickett being allowed to take part in the ceremony.
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