Huddersfield-Salford trouble: 'Players right to enter stand'

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Fighting in crowd mars Salford match

Salford players were right to enter the stands as fighting broke out after their match with Huddersfield, says Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary.

Salford winger Justin Carney and centre Junior S'au were pictured in heated exchanges with supporters as they tried to make sure their children were safe after the game at the John Smith's Stadium.

"I understand they should not enter the crowd but lives are in danger," said McGillvary. "I agree totally with what the Salford players did."

He added: "The players were just protecting their families. It's the natural thing to do. I would have done the same."

Salford won Monday's Super League match 26-24.

In an interview with BBC Sport, McGillvary said:

  • The scenes were shocking and alarming
  • Women were crying
  • Worst incident he had ever seen
  • Culprits should be banned for life

Trouble brewed towards the end of the game when a flare was thrown near the pitch from the Salford end.

Huddersfield said in a statement that "neither the fan who ignited the flare, nor the one who threw it, were identified and two Salford fans were then ejected from the playing surface and pitchside at the end of the game for pitch encroachment".

West Yorkshire Police said officers were not in attendance at the match but were called at full time to "assist stewards in a crowd control situation". No crime has so far been reported and no arrests made.

England international McGillvary, whose own family were in the stand, said it was the "worst incident" he has witnessed at a rugby league match.

Jermaine McGillvary
Jermaine McGillvary was Super League's top try scorer last season with 27

"It was shocking and alarming," he said.

"Women were crying and kids were walking out of it. I don't think anyone was seriously hurt, but it is not a nice thing to be involved in.

"The Salford players' wives were there with small children. There were newborn kids who were being trampled on and getting thrown about."

McGillvray said the players who went into the stand were not trying to cause trouble, only to protect the children and restrain certain fans.

"It was absolutely the right thing to do," he added.

Eorl Crabtree: Salford violence 'sad state of affairs'

Salford head coach Ian Watson said Carney's children - and those of team conditioner Greg Brown - were "a little bit shaken" by what had occurred.

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said a full investigation would be conducted into the incident.

"I reckon if the players and stewards didn't get involved, it could have been a lot worse," added 27-year-old McGillvary.

"If they just stood back and watched it unfold, who knows what could have happened. This doesn't happen all the time, they weren't rugby fans.

"When they find the people, they should ban them for life. There is no place in rugby league for this. They were putting kids' lives in danger."

Huddersfield v Salford
Salford were trailing at half-time but came back to win 26-24
Huddersfield v Salford
Salford's next game is away to Wakefield Wildcats on 2 April

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