State of Origin streaker is a flying Kiwi

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 12:09 18/07/2013
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An audacious streaker who stormed last night's final State of Origin match is a Nelson man who, by his own admission, "stuffed up Origin".

Wati Holmwood, 33, streaked to infamy last night when he stormed the field at ANZ Stadium and disrupted play wearing only a pair of sport shoes. 

The rotund man was tackled to the ground by security officials after what seemed like minutes running around on the field. 

Speaking to the Australian paper The Telegraph today, Holmwood said he had to do a 10km walk of shame after being ejected from the Stadium.

His efforts landed him in Sydney's Auburn hospital, and the Telegraph reported he looked "dazed and confused" after checking himself out this morning.

"I'm sorry, I apologise about what happened," he said.

"Am I in trouble now?"

The short answer to that question was "yes".

Holmwood was ordered to appear in court to face a charge of wilful and obscene exposure, and entering or remaining on the field of play without authorisation.

It is likely he will be banned from ANZ Stadium for life.

"It all happened so quickly, I don't know what was going through my head," he told the Telegraph.

"I just wanted to make it interesting but I stuffed up Origin. A lot of people hate me now."

In Nelson a cousin of Homwood, Doreen Brennan, was surprised he had streaked.

''He's a nice boy. He was a ratbag when he was younger but he's grown up now.''

Wati was the oldest of five Holmwood brothers and a sister who had gone to Sydney and had been there about 10 years, she said.

''They live a really good life,'' she said.

A family friend, Grace Saxton, said she wouldn't have believed he would streak.

''Maybe one of the others but not Wati.  He was reserved and would not do something impromptu.''

The Telegraph reported Holmwood checked himself out of hospital about 1.20am, despite the advice of medical professionals.

He understood Queensland may have scored a try while he was on the field, but he just wanted to see himself on TV.

But his intrusion into the match may have ultimately cost New South Wales the chance to snatch victory, when match officials were forced to reset play to a scrum - awarding a further set of six tackles to the Maroons.

In 2011 Holmwood was reportedly banned from drinking in public and from entering the Sydney Football Stadium after he jumped the fence during an NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors.

It is understood Holmwood greased his body with vaseline-like substance making it difficult for him to be tackled by authorities.

NSW coach Laurie Daley labelled the incident as "silly behaviour".

"What more do you say?" Daley said. "I didn't know what the rule was. I knew a try wouldn't be allowed."

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"Obviously disappointed we didn't get the set of six."

While it appeared the streaker stopped what appeared a certain Maroons try, Blues captain Robbie Farah said the incident hindered his own team.

"It was tough for us because of the ruling at the time. It was the fifth tackle and they got a scrum feed with a full set of six," Farah aid.

"There were only two or three minutes left in the game, it wasn't ideal for us...

"I didn't notice him until right at the end there when he was on the ground. I was too occupied to notice him."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga said the "big, fat fella" cost Matt Scott a certain try.

"I thought he did very well," Meninga said of the way the streaker evaded his pursuers.

"It was disruptive. It cost us a try. We handled it ... Silly, ridiculous it does happen in Origin, in sport, but it does happen."

Maroons fullback Billy Slater could see the funny side afterwards asking "is he a Queenslander?"

- Fairfax Media

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