Aggression in rugby league is par for the course due to the physical nature of the game but the sport always balances that with a family orientated feel, something that makes it so popular.
However during an open training session for NRL side St George Illawarra Dragons, two of their key players got into a scrap inciting a huge melee, in what was supposed to be a training session in front of the community.
The pair in question were star centre Zac Lomax and Tonga international Junior Amone, aged 23 and 20 respectively.
Those surrounding players weren’t only trying to prevent the fight but also to shield fans from witnessing what could become ugly scenes, some of which have been recorded and shared online by the Red V podcast.
Zac Lomax and Junior Amone had to be separated after Zac took exception to a big hit on the Dragons 3 day camp at Mollymook. Altercations like this are normal and a good sign that players are digging deep into their pre season training! pic.twitter.com/shTwvZLk5h
— Red V Podcast (@RedVPodcast1) December 16, 2022
The training session in question was taking place in front of fans and the team had tweeted a video of their session which had included young fans getting involved in drills, which makes the scuffle even more unsavoury.
The club had tweeted footage alongside the caption: “Take a look back at the fun and games visiting the community during our trip to the South Coast.”
— St George Illawarra Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) December 16, 2022
Despite the great community initiative that gave fans a close-up on how the Dragons train, it may have been a little too close-up with the fun and games clearly not limited to drills.
It’s being reported in the Australian media, particularly The Daily Telegraph, that some fans believe the incident simply shows passion and desire among a team that hasn’t strung together the desired results in past seasons.
Now veteran forward has weighed in on the scrap.
“They are young boys who didn’t want to let one of them get over the top of the other. They don’t want anyone to get in front of them for a spot,” Woods said.
“Junior Amone is taking some ownership of the team. You don’t want to see those players get stood all over. It was really good to see him stand up for himself.
“Honestly, we will always give it a crack but if people say it doesn’t mean much to us then why are blokes punching on at training?
“There was a bit of contact and they are both lippy. You want that from your halves and centres. You want them to get stuck into each other – the way you train is the way you play.
“It was blown out of (proportion). I have seen it plenty of times. The only thing different was that it was an open fan session and there were cameras there. It happened, they were a bit feisty but the boys got over it.
“Have you noticed how Lomax always pushes guys off the mark? He did that to Junior. He is a young dog coming through. He has to earn his stripes.”