Players and fans left to bemoan NRL judiciary
RUGBY LEAGUE: Jaw-breakers and trippers go free while players unintentionally brushing referees in the heat of battle miss a game.
It's hardly surprising some of the game's stars and many fans believe the NRL's judiciary process is the No.1 issue in the game that needs an urgent overhaul to get some consistency in handing out punishments.
For obvious reasons players are reluctant to publicly bag or criticise the judiciary.
But privately they have lost faith in how the system with its loading, discounts and prior offences works and how outcomes can vary so much from player to player.
Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday admits he is totally confused by some of the judiciary decisions handed out to players this season.
"There's zero common sense with these calls these days,” Thaiday told Australian Regional Media.
"It's not just touching referees; there are a lot of other decisions that make no sense.
"They should not all be painted with the same brush, they should be judged on their own merits as individual cases.
"We've lost all common sense and that's what we should be using to rule on these things.
"It makes me angry sometimes.”
The NRL's new $2 million Bunker is also a big issue with a number of clangers this season.
Players and fans alike believe referees should referee and the Bunker be used for in-goal decisions.
But of all the issues facing the game, the judiciary remains the biggest bugbear with players admitting it has become a lottery when they challenge a charge because it is so inconsistent.
Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor had every right to ask how Gold Coast forward Ryan James is playing tonight against the Newcastle Knights after his forearm broke his star player James Tedesco's jaw, ending his season last weekend.
James successfully managed to have a grade-two careless tackle charge reduced at the judiciary on Wednesday night, clearing him to play, a decision that mystified many given the serious injury sustained by Tedesco, who had surgery earlier this week.
On Thursday night Brisbane captain Corey Parker copped a boot in the face that split his lips and gashed his chin after Bulldogs forward Sam Kasiano lashed out with his foot.
The Match Review Committee saw the incident as careless contact.
If Kasiano takes an early guilty plea (281 points) he will miss the Dogs' last two games of the season.
If he goes to the judiciary and fights the charge he risks missing the first round of the finals and having another 75 carryover points beside his name.