The NRL will arm referees with water bottles following Friday night’s controversial incident where angry fans threw water bottles at officials.
“This terrible incident would not have happened if our referees had their own water bottles to protect themselves with,” said NRL CEO David Smith.
“Having a water bottle in the hands of every official should see these types of incidents plummet.
“Banning water bottles at games would be pointless, it would just see water bottles end up only in the hands of criminals.”
Former referee Bill Harrigan has welcomed the news but said arming referees with water bottles may not be enough.
“It’s a start but it just means fans and referees will both have water bottles.”
“Referees should have fire extinguishers, which would give them a significant advantage against fans.”
However, not all groups are welcoming the move.
Head of the pressure group ‘Water Bottle Control Now!’ Janice Simpkins said arming everyone with water bottles would lead to more incidents.
“More water bottles are not the answer. Studies show that owning a water bottle places you in greater danger of being hit by one.”
“In Denmark, they replaced water bottles with paper cups and there have been no incidents since.”
Long time Bulldogs fan Sam Ritel said that sort of approach punished the vast majority of responsible water bottle users.
“I’ve owned a water bottle for years and I use it to protect me and my family against dehydration.”
“Why should I have to give it up just because a few irresponsible individuals?
“The NRL are right on this one. If everyone has a water bottle, people will think twice about throwing one.”
Major manufacturers of bottled water have welcomed the NRL’s move and have committed $20,000 to a marketing campaign educating consumers about the dangers of throwing them at sporting officials.