Footy supporters clashed in the stands at the final siren of Saturday's nail-biting AFL match between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs.
Police waded in to break up the scuffle at Marvel Stadium involving a group of people, which came amid fans outrage over "behavioural awareness officers" patrolling the crowd during Friday and Saturday's matches.
Police remove a member of the audience after the Round 13 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Saturday, June 15, 2019Credit:AAP
A video of the fight shows a group of men and a woman trying to restrain one supporter who is eventually led away by police.
At one point, a liquid is poured onto the scuffle from above.
Michael, who saw the fight, said he understood it broke out when tensions boiled over between two supporters of opposing teams.
"It wasn’t a big fight," he said. "It wasn’t a brawl and police and security extinguished it quickly.
"They were there nearly as soon as it started because they were in the area. In this instance they did a good job."
However, more broadly he thought the increased security and appearance of "behavioural awareness officers was overkill.
"I personally think it is over the top … Sometimes the people making these decisions don’t understand pack mentality. People will be even worse and stop going if you harass them with security."
Police confirmed they responded to several people "pushing each other" around the stadium's aisle 12 – near the members' reserves – about 10.10pm. They separated them and took down their details.
Police said they were not aware of any injuries.
"The incident is still being investigated and police are yet to identify all involved," they said.
The thriller match between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton swung like a pendulum, with the game only decided when the umpire paid the Bulldogs a free kick in the dying seconds.
The AFL Fans Association condemned the behaviour of fans who started started the brawl but said a balance was needed between cracking down on the minority of fans who caused issues and the vast majority who behave.
Several fans had approached the AFLFA to say they had been disciplined for behaviour that did not draw attention in the past, said AFLFA President Gerry Eeman.
“Violence, umpire abuse and threatening behaviour are never OK,” Gerry says. “But some fans are telling us that they feel they can’t express themselves at games in the same way they did in the past.
“There is nothing wrong with barracking loudly for your team and there is nothing wrong with being passionate.”
His comments come amid controversy over security tactics at matches, with fans expressing outrage over the appearance of "behavioural awareness officers" patrolling the crowd at Friday and Saturday's matches.
Match attendees took to Twitter to voice their complaints over the officers, but Marvel Stadium says they have been in place all year.
On Friday, Essendon Football Club recruiting consultant and former AFL coach Robert Shaw tweeted a photo of the officers with: "40 years in the game and played, coached and spectated at some inhospitable (wonderful) rival grounds. This is a first for me. Have we really got to this? So sad if we have."
Fans responded that it was "embarrassing" and "political correctness gone into new levels not seen".
The officers' vests feature a phone number to "report antisocial behaviour".
Hawthorn supporter Vic Ghiller told The Age the officers were at Marvel Stadium Friday night.
"They were actually patrolling the Hawthorn cheer squad and telling supporters to calm down," he said.
"As a long-term follower of AFL, I am losing interest in AFL and seriously thinking of only attending VFL as it's more user friendly."
Marvel Stadium chief executive Michael Green said the behavioural awareness officers had been in place all year.
"They have been called 'behavioural awareness officers' and worn those same vests all year," he said.
"While we do not publicly disclose details of the operational aspects of how we manage and implement security, we can confirm we have not increased our security presence."
It follows the ejection of a supporter who allegedly ran towards umpire Mathew Nicholls while calling him a "bald-headed flog"at half-time of the Carlton-Brisbane Lions match last Saturday.
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