Off the Wall

It is now six days since the brawls in the Sea Eagles - Storm match, yet the fallout continues, and won't be resolved until the judiciary finally hears the Glenn Stewart case tonight.

There must surely be a better way?

For six days we have had bad headlines and distractions - distractions from a great season and what is an interesting final round of the premiership.

It distracts from the great players from teams in the bottom half of the premiership who will exit the stage this weekend.

In the modern communication era, surely it does not need to take as long as it currently does to resolve judiciary cases.

The judiciary used to meet on, I recall, a Tuesday night. But with the introduction of Monday night football that has been pushed out to Wednesday night.

Not only does that drag out unfavourable coverage where there is a major incident, it surely interferes with the preparation for the weekend ahead. And how much worse is it when it drags on to Thursday night?

Manly have handled the whole issue hopelessly this week- they have been extended considerable tolerance, some would say more than considerable tolerance.

But the process needs to be fined tuned so that charges are heard as quickly as is reasonable.

Why cannot weekend cases be heard on Monday night or Tuesday night - and any arising out of the Monday night game heard on Wednesday if need be?

The goings on on Friday night at Brookvale Oval was serious - but claims the incidents were the worst in the history of the game are nonsense.

The penalties that have been handed out are reasonable...if you accept the current referrals process. All in brawls have no place in the game.

While the players have been penalised, I hope the NRL has a serious look at how the referees handle such situations.

Sending two players to the sin bin at once ought not to happen. And players must be instructed to run directly to the designated area...not wander off in their own time. That happens far too often now. The whole issue of "trainers" spending more time on the field than some players simply must be addressed.

They are being used as message carriers full stop.

And they are a nuisance - with a couple of former great players being the worst offenders. They are long retired as registered players - if they want to come back, then let them re-register.

But the touch judges, who did little else, should be charged with controlling their involvement.

And when a brawl, all in or otherwise, occurs, they must leave the field immediately.

They are not an integral part of the game. Their role needs to be reduced significantly.

And the current cumbersome judiciary process needs to be shortened.