Former Raiders player identified as NRL grand final pitch invader

Former Canberra playmaker Mark McLinden has been identified as the man who invaded the field and arrested at Sunday’s NRL grand final.

A veteran of 165 games at the Raiders, McLinden played in five finals series for Canberra but never featured in a big game — until Sunday.

McLinden entered the field with Parramatta on the attack at the opposite end of Sydney’s Olympic stadium and took down the padding from one of the goal posts.

He managed to evade security and images show he had a bike lock around his neck as he worked on the post, but was eventually captured and taken from the field by three security guards.

McLinden wore a shirt with the words “End coal gas and oil”.

Play continued during the incident as ground staff quickly managed to reattach the padding before the action returned to that end of the field.

Eagle-eyed social media users recognised McLinden in photos on Tuesday morning, before it was confirmed he was the man in question.

Mark McLinden was restrained and removed by security guards while the game continued at the other end of the field.(Getty Images: Jason McCawley)

“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 the goal post,” a NSW police spokesperson said.

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