A teenage referee is recovering after being punched in the face by an out of control father at a junior rugby league match in south Sydney.
The 34-year-old man is not only a parent of a young player but is also a trainer at the club.
It is believed he was already banned from attending junior matches due to previous behaviour.
He has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm to the 16-year-old referee during the match between the Gymea Gorillas and Engadine Dragons.
Witnesses say the referee had called for the man’s 12-year-old child to be replaced after he allegedly lashed out at another player with his foot.
That is when the man allegedly became aggressive, walking straight onto the field and punching the referee in the mouth.
Ambulances raced the teen to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
He suffered a fractured eye socket and a suspected fractured jaw and has since been released from hospital and remains in a stable condition.
“He looked really angry, and then just came and punched him and the referee fell straight to the ground,” a witness said.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what was happening and then I saw him get punched and everyone was running away."
The Junior Referees Association says it cannot comment because the incident is now a police matter.
The victim was part of a trial program where he was fitted with a GoPro camera in an effort to curb sideline violence.
The alleged attacker will appear at Sutherland Local Court on June 22.