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5 days ago
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) chairman Selwyn Pearson accused the NRL of running the international game after Ali Lauiti'iti was ruled out of Friday night's test against Australia.
Lauiti'iti was given a one-match suspension after being found guilty of a grade one careless high tackle at the NRL judiciary, costing him his place in the Kiwis side for the clash at Aussie Stadium.
An angry Pearson said Lauiti'iti should have been allowed to serve his ban in the NRL and claimed the international game needed its own set of rules.
"He missed out on a test jersey. If that's fair, I believe in Santa Claus," Pearson said.
"Why is the NRL running the international scene?
"Why don't we have our own judiciary?
"Seriously, if he's naughty in the NRL competition, why doesn't he play the test match?
"This is the part I feel most sorry about for the game.
"At the very most in a lifetime they're going to get 15 to 20 tests. He's going to play hundreds of NRL games.
"Why take a test off him?"
But NRL chief executive David Gallop on Tuesday night defended the judicial process, which has haunted the NZ side in recent seasons.
Last year, Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless was ruled out of the October test against Australia after being suspended while playing for the Eels.
In previous seasons, suspension has also cost Stephen Kearney, Dean Bell and John Lomax their place in the NZ side.
"There's always potentially going to be suspensions from club football that are going to have an impact on representative football," Gallop said.
"It doesn't matter whether it's origin or test matches.
"That's part of the scene.
"Is he suggesting that a player who punches a referee one week in the NRL and gets a five-year ban should be allowed to in extremes. The fans are not going to cop that."
Lauiti'iti's place in the NZ squad is likely to go to either in-form Penrith forward Joe Galuvao or Lauiti'iti's Warriors teammate Sione Faumuina.
A disappointed Lauiti'iti, only three games into a comeback from a serious arm injury, described his suspension as "part and parcel" of football.
"It's disappointing, but you have to suffer the consequences," he said.
"I have to accept the fact I got (found) guilty.
"I will work on my technique and try to rectify that.
"Hopefully in the next few weeks I can do that."
Pearson sid he would raise the issue at this weekend's international board meeting in Sydney and said he was not surprised the classy second rower had been suspended bearing in mind the Kiwis' track record.
"It's not as if Australia has struggled against New Zealand recently," he said.
"I would have thought for the good of the game everyone should see the best two teams on the paddock.
"History is repeating itself.
"I am tired of arguing about this. It's all happened before. I really can't be bothered any more.
"If everyone out there thinks a grade one careless tackle in an NRL game should cost the poor man a test cap, so be it."
But New Zealand isn't the only team suffering after losing out in an Australian judiciary room.
Newcastle's NSW second rower and test incumbent Ben Kennedy was found guilty of a high tackle on Queensland forward Steve Price during this year's State Origin series in a ruling that also cost him another Australian jumper.