Former London Broncos player identified as pitch invader at NRL Grand Final

Former Canberra Raiders and London Broncos player Mark McLinden has been identified as the pitch invader during the NRL Grand Final between Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels.

He played over 160 games across seven seasons for the Raiders before spending four seasons with the London Broncos.

McLinden stormed the field during the second half of the final and ripped the advertising padding off one of the goalposts and tried to remove the other posts padding before being chased by security and tackled on the 20-metre line.

He wore a bright yellow T-shirt that read ‘End Coal, Gas and Oil’ on the front with ‘For our Children’ on the rear. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, McLinden explained his intentions.

“My intention was to enter the pitch, lock on to the post and halt play long enough for my message to be read,” he said. “A message that climate scientists have been imploring governments to heed.

“I did not want to be an activist,” he elaborated. “I did not want to stop play on grand final night and jeopardise the childhood dreams of 34 players, not to mention the joy and excitement of hundreds of thousands of fellow footy fans.

“The world’s governments are steering us into a rapidly unstable climate the consequences of this of which we are already witnessing.”

It appears McLinden’s real attempt was to tie himself to the goalposts and bring the game to a complete halt, an act which is becoming alarmingly popular among activists as seen in multiple sporting event over recent years.

The former Raider has been fined 5000 Australian Dollars and subsequently banned from any future NRL games, but this hasn’t deterred his attitude towards climate change.

“As it happened my plan was thwarted,” He continued. “My opportunity to make real climate action was lost. I won’t give up, I’ll continue to fight for your children’s future and I invite you to do the same.”

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