Train kills AFL fan after coach argument - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Train kills AFL fan after coach argument

By Adam Cooper and Sam Lienert 29/05/2006 07:10:02 PM Comments (0)

Verbal clashes between AFL coach Dean Laidley and a supporter of the Kangaroos club at a match at Melbourne's Telstra Dome had a tragic aftermath when the man was hit and killed by a train.

Police confirmed the man, aged in his late 30s, was killed near Seaford train station, in Melbourne's south-east, about 1am (AEST) Monday when he was hit by a Frankston-bound train.

Police are not treating the death as suspicious.

Laidley twice had words with the man as he ran through the Telstra Dome crowd to address his players during and after his side's loss to St Kilda.

Kangaroos chief executive Geoff Walsh met with the family of the supporter, later issuing a statement offering the club's condolences.

"I spoke to the family members, who are devastated by the loss of their son and brother, and offered professional support services to help them through this sad time," Walsh said.

"I also passed on our deepest condolences and thoughts of everyone here at the North Melbourne Football Club.

"The family stressed that an incident earlier in the day at the North Melbourne-St Kilda game at Telstra Dome was unrelated to the tragic loss of their son's life.

"This is an intensely private and sensitive matter and the family have asked that the club make no further comment as they deal with the grieving process."

Laidley took exception to the man's comments after the full-time siren, and he had words with the fan despite the attempts of two security guards to hurry the Kangaroos coach on.

Both altercations were captured by TV cameras and replayed later.

In his post-game press conference, Laidley said he had invited the man to come on to the ground to see how much the team's loss had stung his players.

"He said a couple of things during the day and after the game he had another crack, so I just went back and said 'come down, come and have a look at how much we're all actually hurting'," he said.

"But he couldn't answer me, because he was that drunk. Alcohol does funny things.

"That was pretty much it. I just asked him to come down, which I've actually done before."

There was no official evidence that the man, who was holding a glass of beer at the time of the altercation, was intoxicated at the game.

The AFL has the right to fine coaches for bringing the game into disrepute but decided against punishing Laidley for his altercation.

An AFL spokesman said the league had also decided against beefing up security after the altercation.

But the AFL Coaches Association said security needed to be addressed.

"Maybe they need some sort of separate entrance somewhere," said association chief executive Peter Allen, who spoke before news of the man's death became public.

"When you get a situation where members of the public can hang over the fence and abuse coaches and players, we'd like to do something about that.

"It's an issue that we'll take up with the AFL at our next meeting."

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