Group 10 president Linore Zamparini has condemned the alleged racial vilification of Orange United Warriors players that sparked a brawl involving players and spectators in Saturday's Wallerawang Landscaping Cup semi-final against the Tigers at Oberon, adding the game will impose a "substantial suspension" on the offenders.
Tensions boiled over late in the mid-west preliminary final following the alleged consistent abuse of Warriors players, all of which have an Indigenous background, on the far side of the Oberon Sportsground from a small section of the 500 spectators at the venue.
Players, from both sides, and those fans came together in wild scenes before the melee was broken up and the spectators removed from the ground.
The match continued and the Tigers booked passage to this Saturday's grand final via a 20-14 victory over the Warriors.
Zamparini said the decider will go ahead, but both grand final combatants - CSU Bathurst and Oberon - would be addressed prior to kick-off.
Zamparini said Group 10 was investigating the incident alongside NSWRL officials, but added the board would come down hard on any party found to have been involved in the vilification - of any sort - of players, officials, or spectators.
"I think we're looking at a substantial suspension," he said.
... it's certainly (something) we're not going to tolerate; it's not part of our game.Group 10 president Linore Zamparini on Saturday's alleged racial abuse directed at Orange Warriors players
"You have to be living under a rock to think this issue isn't there, but it's certainly one we're not going to tolerate; it's not part of our game."
No police charges were laid against the alleged offender but Orange United Warriors president Katrina Hausia confirmed her club sent a letter to Group 10 - the body that controls mid-west - in the hope of shining a positive light on the issue.
She says the club is determined to use these events as a platform to educate the football community about racism and making it clear the open racial vilification of players, coaches - anyone - is not acceptable.
"It's not a blame game. This is about education so our players can go to a game of football and feel safe," Hausia said.
Hausia said the scale of Saturday's incident was a one-off, but there have been undertones of racism in some of her side's games so far in 2020.
Zamparini, who was at the ground on Saturday, doesn't believe there is a specific issue with Oberon's supporters.
It's not a blame game. This is about education so our players can go to a game of football and feel safe.Orange United Warriors president Katrina Hausia
"Oberon is a vocal crowd; passionate, as most crowds are. I think the game enjoys that bit of banter but as long as it's not personal. This wasn't banter. This was allegedly racial," he added.
"Not many clubs in Group 10 or mid-west don't have indigenous players ... this is football, it doesn't matter what race of creed, we're all equal."
Oberon president Ian Christie-Johnston was the ground manager on Saturday and confirmed a report of beer cans being thrown at players at quarter-time of Saturday's prelim-final.
"We looked at that and spoke to officials but at that time we couldn't see any trouble," he said.
Christie-Johnston said the club did its best to control what spectators brought into grounds, including alcohol, but admitted it was "tough to police".
"We've tried to address that through education and signage at the ground ... it's very hard, unless you place a full lockdown on grounds, and many venues can't be (locked down). And security is a huge cost for the club," the Tigers boss added.
He added the club condemned any form of racial vilification of players, referees or spectators, and the club had previously worked to educate the community in those areas.