Watene-Zelezniak attacked in violent junior league incident

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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. Photo: Melinda Jane

The Panthers have confirmed they’re aware of an incident involving winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak at a junior rugby league fixture in St Clair yesterday.

It is understood Watene-Zelezniak was not the instigator of the incident and was attacked by a junior league official while helping out as a touch judge.

The incident happened just hours before Watene-Zelezniak lined up for the Panthers against the Gold Coast Titans at Pepper Stadium yesterday.

According to a report on the Wide World of Sports website, Watene-Zelezniak was acting as a sideline official in a match at Peppertree Park between St Clair and St Marys when the incident occurred.

The Kiwi international put his flag up to signify a St Marys player had stepped into touch, leading to a St Marys official allegedly abusing and confronting Watene-Zelezniak.

The altercation then turned physical, with the official putting his hands around the Panthers star’s neck and wrestling with him, according to the report.

“It was very ugly and parents and officials had to take the kids across the field before a few people eventually broke it up,” an eyewitness told Wide World of Sports.

The Panthers issued a statement about the issue earlier this afternoon.

“Penrith Panthers is aware of an incident involving Panthers player Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, which occurred at a junior rugby league fixture in St Clair on Saturday morning,” the statement said.

“Watene-Zelezniak was volunteering as a sideline official at the time and contacted Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould immediately following the incident.

“Panthers can confirm Watene-Zelezniak was not the instigator of the incident.

“The incident is currently under investigation by Penrith Junior League and Panthers will review the matter on Monday.”

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