Woman's alleged assault sparks brawl at grand final
PALM Beach Soccer Club President Michael Hanns has vowed to undertake a cultural overhaul after an ugly brawl broke out between Sharks and Surfers Paradise supporters in the aftermath of the Gold Coast Premier League grand final on Saturday night.
Police were called to Lex Bell Park on Salerno Street in Surfers Paradise around 8:40pm when a fight broke out between opposing supporters.
It's believed the 'Palm Beach Palmy Army' grew increasingly rowdy as the game progressed, swearing at Surfers Paradise players and allegedly throwing drinks at players as they were taking sideline throw-ins as they watched their side crash to a 3-1 loss.
It's alleged a female Surfers Paradise supporter was assaulted while the game was still ongoing, elevating the tension between opposing camps.
Around three Palm Beach supporters continued to instigate trouble walking back and forth between their supporter camp behind the players' benches and the Surfers Paradise clubhouse where a bar was located.
Police arrived shortly before 9pm after the major scuffle had largely broken up.
One stable male patient was transported to Gold Coast University Hospital with an eye injury after being punched in the face.
Palm Beach President Michael Hanns condemned the behaviour of Sharks affiliated supporters and said the club was already in the process of instigating educational programs to ensure Palm Beach juniors understand respectful behaviour.
"The loss wasn't on my mind at all the night after the game. I was up until 3am in the morning trying to think about what we could do to fix it," Hanns said.
"It is at the top of my agenda to start change. I want a strong culture but Saturday night is not what I've been trying to endorse at all.
"I'm absolutely disgusted, I have no other word for it.
"I wouldn't bring my kids to the game last night.
"We want to develop a code of behaviour and educational programs with our juniors to stop the trend and break the cycle.
"We've even thought about creating a photo database of our core supporters to create ownership and put the emphasis on our guys to set a standard."
It's unclear whether the aggravating supporters were directly linked to Palm Beach's core group of supporters or even whether they travelled on the Sharks' supporter buses to the venue.
Surfers Paradise president Telly Karadimos said his club would work with Palm Beach and Football Gold Coast to investigate the incident.
"It was very disappointed, it was disgusting," he said.
"We will be investigating our spectators as well and if we believe anyone was involved, it'll be taken very seriously.
"It didn't take the gloss of our win. We created a record at our club, going undefeated and winning the grand final. It's never happened before in our history."
Only two security guards were on hand to manage the venue and both were incapable of stopping the brawl from escalating.
"We weren't expecting a crowd that big," Karadimos said.
Originally published as Woman's alleged assault sparks brawl at Gold Coast Premier League grand final