A wild brawl at a schoolboy rugby league match is being investigated by police after one of the players needed to be treated in hospital.
Both teams have now been suspended as authorities warn players on-field violence can lead to criminal charges.
For most of the game the schoolboy clash had teetered on the edge of violence - with 15 minutes to go, following a simple tackle, it erupted.
An all-in brawl erupted between Orange High School and Dubbo College players; some reserves even ran onto the field.
Detective sergeant Mark Meredith of Dubbo Police said: “It's something we won't put up with as police. And players, regardless of the sport they're involved with, need to be aware of the consequences, so far as criminal action."
Detectives say one reserve repeatedly kicked a 17-year-old Orange student in the head. He was taken to hospital with suspected skull fractures.
The Astley Cup between Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst is Australia's oldest school competition and officials are promising tough sanctions.
Terry Quinn of Country Rugby League said: “We'll come up with some people we need to charge and they'll then be taken to judiciary for a hearing and hopefully they'll get lengthy sentences."
The schools and the department of education declined to be interviewed on camera but in a statement the department condemned the fight as unacceptable, saying it was against the spirit of both schools."
Players from both teams now face interviews with the police, suspensions and game bans.