FAMILY APOLOGY: Anittelea and William Tiaaleaiga speak out about the Anzac Day footy brawl.
FAMILY APOLOGY: Anittelea and William Tiaaleaiga speak out about the Anzac Day footy brawl. Austin King

Family apologises for Anzac brawl that tore them apart

SERA Tiaaleaiga has panic attacks every time she leaves her family home. That's why she normally stays in and looks after the babies.

But on this particular day she decided to get out to watch her three sons Dylan, William and Anittelea play A-grade Rockhampton rugby together for the first time.

It was supposed to be a proud moment for her and the family.

But little did she know the day she chose to leave the house was the dreadful day that tore her family apart.

She wasn't going to leave.

"But Dylan stood at the door and said to me, 'Mum, it's our first game ever playing together in one team… you have to come'," Sera said.

This week, The Morning Bulletin spoke to the Tiaaleaiga family about the Rockhampton Anzac Day brawl.

The family said the brawl started after a player from the other team allegedly made comments referring to Dylan's past in jail.

William and Anittelea said these alleged comments were hurtful and personal. As a result of his alleged involvement in the fight, Dylan was sent back to jail to serve a previous sentence handed down to him three years ago.

The two other brothers have been hit with suspensions from the game for their alleged involvement.

Father Loui said the fight may not have transpired if things had been handled differently.

A tearful Sera, who described her family as a tight-knit unit, said the incident had been blown out of proportion and her family had been overwhelmed.

She said the family depended on each other emotionally, mentally and financially. She and her husband Loui are pensioners; and Sera takes medication for her health.

"Dylan and William are the only ones working in our house, and now with Dylan gone, Will is the only one who has an income for the family."

William and 17-year-old Anittelea, who is a Year 12 student, said the incident was the first fight they had been involved in.

They described their older brother as "a gentle and humble guy once you get to know him".

Dylan is expecting a child with his girlfriend in September. Mum Sera said she was hurt that her boy would miss the birth.

The Tiaaleaigas wanted to apologise to the community for the incident.

"We are sorry to all the players and the families affected by this… we did not intend to go to the rugby game to fight.

"We realise we aren't the only ones who have been hurt by this and we are sorry."

Yesterday William faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court charged with one count of assault causing bodily harm.

His matter was adjourned to Monday, June 1.

Dylan was banned from the Colts club for his alleged involvement in the brawl and will face court at a later date.

William was stood down for 10 weeks and Anittelea was suspended for 12 weeks by Central Queensland Rugby Union.


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