Two Reef Raiders face bans following brawl last week

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Howard Salkow

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The Port Douglas Reef Raiders rugby union team has been dealt a severe blow with two of its key players receiving harsh suspensions following a brawl during last Saturday’s match against JCU in Cairns.


Fullback Ethan Hoffman, a pivotal player in the side’s success this season, and wing Shihan Aue, who hails from New Zealand, have received four and three-week suspensions respectively for their roles in a punch-up which occurred in the final minutes of the game. Both were given red cards.

Hoffman will miss this Saturday’s match against Barron Trinity Bulls, the Mudcrabs on June 15 and Penrhyn a week later. He will return for the match against Southside in Port Douglas. Aue will be back for the Penrhyn encounter.

Raiders’ president Don Murday was visibly annoyed and disappointed with the rulings.

“Reacting to unprovoked assault and getting four weeks makes no sense. I strongly believe that the decisions are unfair,” he said.

Murday confirmed the club would not be appealing the sentences. “It would cost us $250 per appeal and if we lose, our money would not be returned. This is a lot of money for a small club like us.”   

For a team sitting fourth on the log table – they’ve won three and lost three – this is a massive blow to a unit that has been struggling to get its international players cleared to play in Australia.

At one stage of the season, they were awaiting clearance for seven players. They are now hoping to obtain clearance for their final two.

The Raiders will have to overcome their frustrations and the loss of key players when they are away to Barron Trinity Bulls this weekend. They were beaten 22-19 by the Bulls in the first round.


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