'Embarrassing mess' threatens to derail finals

1 month ago 22
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How long have we been complaining about the match review committee and the judiciary?

The NRL has indicated it'll review the process at the end of the season, but I think we've reached a point where a player could be rubbed out of the finals series because of an innocuous tackle or unavoidable contact.

Case in point; South Sydney's Keaon Koloamatangi, who won't be available until the finals for a crusher tackle which was caused by Brent Naden turning and sitting down.

Andrew Johns said in commentary on Friday Night: "I don't know what he's supposed to do, he cannot disappear. I have no idea what Koloamatangi can do."

Keaon Koloamatangi has been suspended for a crusher tackle. (Getty)

The rugby league Immortal would know what constitutes deliberate contact and he's right to question why the Rabbitohs enforcer has been suspended for defending an attacking player in possession of the football.  There was nothing wrong with the tackle.

You've then got the embarrassing decision by the MRC to impose a one-match suspension on Canterbury's Corey Waddell for contrary conduct. The winger was put on report for pulling on Kalyn Ponga's headgear and he's been banned. That'll do me!

Most people watching would have said, penalty sufficient; move on, but not the NRL.

The Continuous Call Team's Darryl Brohman let fly at the MRC decision to suspend Corey Waddell, describing the penalty as "ludicrous" and listeners to 2GB also vented their frustration by labelling it another "pedantic overreaction" from the NRL. 

Aren't suspensions supposed to act as a deterrent?

Sydney Roosters star Angus Crichton was suspended over a tackle that looked relatively innocuous. (Getty)

Well the match review committee is handing them out like chocolate eggs at Easter and it's become a fair dinkum joke.

Are we making the game safer or completely changing the foundations on which it was built back in 1908?

For the record, I support the crackdown on high-contact given you've never been allowed to hit someone in the head, however we seem to be forgetting rugby league is one of the most brutal codes anywhere in the world and it's a CONTACT SPORT.

It's the reason why young men and women sign on to play the game and it's also the reason why millions of supporters pay their hard earned money to follow the greatest game of all.

The inconsistencies are a real problem that the league needs to address ASAP because the confusion is driving the coaches, players and supporters up the wall. For example: South Sydney is losing one of its best players, Keaon Koloamatangi for two games over a crusher tackle when replays clearly show him pulling back as soon as the Rabbitohs enforcer realised the tackle was getting into a dangerous position.

Nathan Cleary escaped scrutiny over what many thought was a shoulder charge. (Getty)

Two weeks ago, Angus Crichton from the Roosters was also rubbed out for two matches over a similar incident yet Penrith's Viliame Kikau escaped suspension for a tackle that looked more dangerous than the ones involving Crichton and Koloamatangi.

If the league demands consistency from the referees, why not the match review committee?

I'm also at a loss to explain the shoulder charge rule after Nathan Cleary was cleared of a dubious tackle on Jack Bird in round 22.  St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin questioned how the "clear-cut shoulder charge" went unpunished and premiership-winning Sharks captain Paul Gallen agreed it was a shoulder charge.

The system is a mess and instead of the former players on the MRC using some common sense, the panel is living up to its reputation as the "dartboard brigade''."

The same can be said for the NRL Judiciary which is chaired by a NSW Supreme Court Judge who directs a panel of former players to decide whether someone is found guilty or not guilty of a charge.

The common complaint I hear from coaches and players who front the panel is, "it's like you're facing a murder charge answering questions from barristers, QCs and SCs." Isn't rugby league governed by a rulebook and a code of conduct?

St George Illawarra Dragons coach Anthony Griffin questioned why a "clear cut shoulder charge" went unpunished. (NRL)

If they're intent on running judiciary hearings like a criminal trial, why don't we ask the NSW Attorney General if the Supreme Court is available at Taylor Square instead of a room at Rugby League Central.

The players already feel like they're in the dock.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary was unsuccessful in defending Api Koroisau who was charged with inciting a melee and if you've watched the incident back on replay, you'd be asking yourself why the hooker is serving a one-match suspension.

I think we all want what's best for rugby league and the sooner the NRL overhauls the match review and judicial process the better. Here's an idea; invite the likes of former referee and match review committee chairman Greg McCallum, District Court Judge and former Judiciary chairman Paul Conlon and former ARL boss John Quayle to review the process.

If they can't sort through the current mess nobody can. I'd hate to see a team robbed of a chance to compete for a premiership because they've lost a crucial player to suspension through another laughable decision from the MRC or the Judiciary.

Let me know what you think by emailing the Wide World of Sports Radio show by clicking on this link: https://form.jotform.co/70601482897867

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