Off the Wall

Once again serious flaws in our incident referral and judiciary processes have made the headlines in the run-up to an origin match.

The controversy over the grading of the dangerous throw tackle involving the Knights Akuila Uate and the impact of that grading on his place in the Blues Origin team is a controversy that could be avoided.

I have been urging for years that suspensions imposed for incidents in club matches be served in club matches - and not Origin or Test matches.

The tackle Uate was charged over was not a good look, but the case can be made on the basis of the grading for similar tackles that a grade one call was justified. But the case can also be made out for a higher grading, given the fact the NRL has been taking a tougher line on dangerous throw tackles than other offences.

But giving a grading that would have prevented Uate from playing in Origin Two would have been unfair - just as club match suspensions have been unfairly applied to Origin and Test matches in the past.

And they have impacted on Maroons players as well as Blues players.

It is nonsense to suggest that a one match suspension from an NRL premiership fixture is the same as a one match suspension from an Origin match.

Just as it is nonsense to claim a suspension that takes a player out of a Grand Final is the same as one that takes him out of a weekly club match.

The pressure on the NRL's match review official, Greg McCallum, after Uate was put on report on Monday night was massive - given that he had already been chosen in the Blues team. It is bad enough when a report is made on the eve of representative selection let alone after the team is chosen.

That pressure would be minimised if club suspensions applied to club matches only.

The current judiciary process, including the heavier penalties if you plead "not guilty", are unjust and unfair.

A system that equates a suspension from an Origin match with one from a weekly NRL fixture is more than just unfair. It is nonsense.

The independent commission needs to overhaul one of the worst left-overs from The Super League war - a flawed judiciary system!

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