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2 days ago
Every man and his dog is getting themselves into a lather over what the penalty should be for the 14 players on the field drama, when it is so simple to resolve.
All that the NRL need do is apply the following criteria in determining the appropriate penalty:-
1) If the additional player on the field was instrumental in that team winning the game they should be docked the competition points; or
2) If the extra man on the field gave that team no advantage a monetary fine should apply with the amount dependent on the severity of the breach. For example the time the player spent on the field and what activity he was involved in during that time.
Quiz all the clubs and they would be united in their desire for the punishment to fit the crime. No two breaches are the same and there are mitigating circumstances with every incident where an extra player has entered the field.
You only have to look at the justice system to see that every law comes with a wide range of sentences and each ruling handed down is the decision of the presiding judge after hearing all the submissions from both the prosecution and the defence.
What happened last Saturday night in the Panthers-Bulldogs game should be treated in isolation and not compared to any similar breach that has occurred before.
The somewhat hasty decision to strip the Bulldogs of their two competition points flies in the face of public opinion - including many non-Bulldog supporters. Even Panther legend Greg Alexander is of the belief that a docking of points for what unfolded against his club is harsh and that a fine was a fairer option.
The NRL should also take into account the gracious manner in which the Bulldogs club has admitted its guilt in much the way the judiciary gives a downgrade to a player who takes an early guilty plea.
There would be certain sections of the rugby league community who would be revelling in this latest blow to hit the Bulldogs, but they should instead applaud a club that has taken giant strides in re-inventing itself as The Family Club off the field and The Entertainers on the field.
Here is an opportunity for the NRL to adopt the aforementioned criteria and if it is warranted, overturn its decision and replace it with a fine. They would be the recipient of much kudos if they showed that they were willing to be flexible and embrace change that advances the game's image whilst at the same time acknowledges they not only listen to public opinion but will act if it deems necessary.
You cannot ask more from a governing body. Over to you Mr Gallop