Racist abuse puts Manly off limits for Pritchards

The wife of Bulldogs forward Frank Pritchard says her family has been hurt by racial abuse directed at them during last Friday’s match at Brookvale Oval, and she is unlikely to return to Manly as a result of the “degrading” incident.

Raima Pritchard was called a “monkey” and told to “go back where you came from” as she celebrated her husband scoring a try during a golden-point victory over the Sea Eagles. She said on Wednesday that the perpetrators were an “older couple” and their two friends. She was seated with her daughter Kaizen, who turned four on the night, and other family members including Pritchard’s parents.

“It was disturbing. They didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t make it clear who I was or anything,” she said at the Bulldogs community lunch in Sydney. “But that kind of stuff shouldn’t be at a football game anyway. I had my daughter there with me. It was very awkward. We were cheering because we got the try, and we were just told to f-off, and sit down, and go back to your own country.

“That really did upset my family and all of us who were there. The most degrading thing was they looked at us straight away and they told us to go back to Centrelink, stop bludging off the dole. I was very upset about that. I just told my family to keep on looking at the park.”

It also emerged on Wednesday that Bulldogs winger Krisnan Inu was dubbed a “dumb black c—” by a troll on Instagram. Inu, a devout Christian, removed the message then apologised to his followers for challenging the troll to say the comment to his face.

Raima Pritchard said she knew of the slur towards Inu and her own experience at Brookvale had convinced her not to return to the venue. She said onlookers, including the families of Bulldogs players Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds, had stepped in to silence the perpetrators and then walked out of the ground with the Pritchards.

“It’s not going to stop me going [to games] but I think I might be stopping going back to Manly,” she said. “It’s my cousin’s 50th this Saturday at the Manly Leagues Club. I have had to ring up and say we can’t come because if I have a whole party of family, and if there is going to be some fans who are erratic, that’s not going to be a good situation to put ourselves into.”

She said she had tried to protect her daughter from the taunts. “I told her, ‘Don’t worry about it, Daddy just scored a try, keep going.’ We were trying to block her ears,” she said. “We were very lucky that we had some really great people behind us and they stood up and spoke for us, which was fantastic. Trent Hodkinson’s family was behind us, and they were the ones who stood up because they were trying to advance at us. Josh Reynolds’ family and Trent Hodkinson’s family, they came around us and said, ‘We will leave here together as a group.’

“We have had racism throughout our whole entire lives … But if I wasn’t a footballer’s wife this situation wouldn’t have been brought up.”

Bulldogs chief Todd Greenberg said the NRL was investigating the behaviour of the Manly supporters at Brookvale where Ben Barba and Dene Halatau were spat on, staff were abused and Manly prop George Rose was hit in the back with a can.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.