Watch: Teenage rugby player handed 10-year ban for violent strike on 19-year-old referee
A teenage Australian rugby league player has been hit with a 10-year ban for punching a 19-year-old during a game.
Video footage shows Mark Meafua (18) of Maitland Blacks connecting with the face of official Niklas Gaal during the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union under-19s grand final against Newcastle Wanderers last weekend.
Meafua was about to be issued a red card for a previous incident when he struck out.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the young rugby player was handed a ten-year ban at a hearing after pleading guilty to the offence.
"We have not seen anything like this in our zone in 30 years," NHRU general manager Andy Fairfull said.
"It is unacceptable to verbally or physically abuse a referee. The sanctions show that if you undertake that behaviour, you will be out of the game for a serious amount of time."
You can watch the incident below: