The identity of the NRL Grand Final pitch invader has been revealed.
Incredibly, it turns out the bloke who disrupted the game by running onto the field was actually a former NRL player himself.
Ex-Canberra Raiders star Mark McLinden now spends his days as a climate change activist and decided to use the NRL Grand Final as the perfect time to protest the use of fossil fuels.
During the second half in the clash between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels, everyone's attention was drawn to the opposite end of the field when a man attempted to rip off the padding on the goal posts.
The invader then rand full pelt onto the field, only to be crash tackled to the ground by multiple security guards.
He was then frog marched off the pitch before being arrested by police.
Despite arresting 7 people, police say they were pretty pleased with the crowd at the @NRL grand final. The most visible was a pitch invader who tore padding off a goal post during the second half and ended up being tackled by security. https://t.co/16XLnBDifr #NRL #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/IqdTNUFLL7— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) October 3, 2022
"A 43-year-old man from Mullumbimby was arrested after he allegedly entered the southern end of the playing field and dragged one of the pads from a goal post," a statement from local police said.
"He was removed from the field by security before being arrested by police; he has been issued with an infringement notice for enter competition playing field."
It's understood he was also fined $5000.
For the rugby league fans watching at home, they wouldn't have seen the incident on the television broadcast.
But even for those inside Accor Stadium, it was hard to make out what the invader's intentions were.
Well, now we know.
It turns out the bloke is actually former Raiders player McLinden, who was using the biggest stage in rugby league to get a message across.
McLinden was wearing a shirt that read 'end coal, gas & oil' on the front and 'for our kids' on the back.
The stunt was reportedly a direct protest of the government's lack of action in preventing climate change.
"The world's climate scientists have concluded that the continuing burning of coal, gas and oil is causing catastrophic ecosystem loss and climate change,' he said in a Facebook status posted during the Grand Final.
"As a result, the stable climate that humans have enjoyed for the last 10,000 years is becoming unstable before our eyes. The floods, fires, heatwaves and droughts will only get worse unless we stand up against the fossil fuel industry and demand that they pay for the carbon they emit.
"In addition, they must phase out its use to be replaced with renewable energy far quicker than governments have allowed.
"Climate scientists are turning to activism due to the lack of action from governments. I stand for science. I stand with scientists, and have joined them in activism.
"I encourage you to do the same. Our kids and grandkids are relying on it."
McLinden made 165 appearances for the Canberra Raiders between 1998 and 2004, scoring 65 tries.
Featured Image Credit: Supplied/NRL/Twitter/Ch7/YouTube/Gentle Earthling
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