Police warn NRL about growing criminal ‘danger’

The NRL is facing a new and very present danger – organised gang violence.

The early rounds of the junior representative season in Sydney have been marred by scuffles on and off the field.

But it’s fighting with a difference, with several of the participants allegedly members of rival Sydney gangs.

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Only this week, the NSWRL issued Code of Conduct breach notices to five players, officials and spectators after a second straight weekend of mayhem.

And police fear things will get worse.

“It’s the perfect storm for gangs – they known when and where games are being held and who is playing,” a police source told Wide World of Sports.

“These gangs are organised and dangerous and security at junior league grounds is not overly strong.

“Gang members see the footy as the ideal place to settle scores and put claims on their turf.

“If it isn’t clamped down on soon, the NRL and NSW Rugby League will have real problems on their hands – if they don’t already.”

NRL boss Peter V'landys.

NRL boss Peter V’landys is aware of the issue, telling brawling players, fans and parents that they “should go to the UFC” and have nothing to do with rugby league.

The drama has been escalated by Sydney clubs signing young players without doing their due diligence.

“They sign these kids at 14 and 15 and don’t really look into their backgrounds or affiliations,” one NRL club CEO told Wide World of Sports.

“It’s all about winning and signing the best players – nothing about their character and off-field behaviour and it will come back to bite the clubs concerned.”

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