LIKE most fans of the game, the circumstances surrounding the citing and eventual suspension of Trent Barrett has me confused and even a little disturbed.For once, it seems, I can also speak from first hand knowledge as I attended the game in question between the Dragons and Knights up at Marathon Stadium. And before we wade into the murky waters of the judiciary, I?d like to tip my hat to Brian Carney.Here?s a player who asks for nothing from the game but gives everything he has each week. The hit he copped from Barrett was pretty nasty and he didn?t get up whinging, or in some cases, stay down to milk a penalty. Instead of gesticulating with the referee he got on with the game. It?s comforting to know that the Good Lord still builds Rugby League players of his ilk.Now, onto the judiciary?where doth that mysterious beast lurk?There would be few fans, if any, that haven?t had a gripe with the judiciary system over the years. But of late it seems that the inconsistencies within the process have widened to such a gulf that rational and reasonable discussion and comparisons can no longer be drawn.Two weeks ago when Canterbury took on Cronulla at Telstra Stadium a fight broke out between Sonny Bill Williams and Phil Bailey. Both players were sin-binned and the match review committee suspended Bulldogs winger Matt Utai for a fortnight after he became the third man in and proceeded to throw punches in Bailey?s direction. A precedent was set for this penalty in 2004 when Brett Finch was also suspended for the same violation when playing for the Roosters.So, what does this have to do with anything I hear you ask?Four days later during State of Origin I, again at Telstra, Justin Hodges and Eric Grothe stood toe-to-toe before Grothe unleashed a couple a punches which found their mark. As the fight broke out Queensland forward Matthew Scott rushes in to aid his fellow cane toad, who at that stage was in desperate need of some assistance.Scott flayed off a few temple teasers in exactly the same circumstances as Utai, yet he was not the subject of a citing or suspension. In this case it was hard to miss ? there was a fight and many people became involved. Clearly this would have come to the attention of the match review committee.Are we to conclude that State of Origin matches are on a different plane than club games? Surely not.The original non-citing of Barrett at least goes some way to explaining the failings of the judiciary given the hit was very subtle in comparison to a fight which stopped the match.But I just can?t understand how the process of a match review can take place, without charges laid, then the match review itself can be reviewed based off ?new? footage that was either previously unavailable or simply disregarded by the match reviewer.If you?re buying the line that some ?junior Channel Nine employee? discovered the footage then you probably still believe in Santa Clause. To begin with the very suggestion that this person can set in motion a chain of events which results in Barrett?s citing is utterly ridiculous. The referees within the NRL make themselves about as available to the outside world as the Loch Ness Monster.There is something more sinister at work here but at the end of the day I believe justice was served. Barrett was punished according to his crime.But at what price? It would appear that we have taken the whole process out of the hands of an appointed official and given it to anyone with a copy of a game that picks up on something that the officials don?t. Apparently not! Our good mate Warrick Nicolson highlighted the aforementioned ?Scott Incident? to David Gallop, Greg McCallum and at least five media outlets including Channel 9 and the Daily Telegraph the morning after it happened.He received no response from the powers that be, shooting holes in the suggestion that any ?new? acts of foul play would be looked at seriously if there was a case to answer. Thankfully Rugby League Week had the sense to print it in this week?s letters but that hardly affords Matt Utai the same level of justice considering Scott is running around this week.The icing on the cake comes from Channel Nine director of sport Steve Crawley who has according to the Sydney Morning Herald phoned Dragons CEO Peter Doust on several occasions to apologise because he was ?uncomfortable with Nine policing rugby league?.I wonder if Doust?s side of that conversation was suitable only for the 9.30pm timeslot?As I sit here lamenting the course of events that have taken shape over the past few days I find myself asking the question ?How did we let things come to this??The NRL judiciary will try on anything they like these days. So what?s worse: the inconsistencies that are rife throughout our game, or the fact that many of us have accepted their inconsistencies as a part of our game?
AFTER serving a seven-match NRL suspension, Billy Slater wants to cement his place back in the in-form Melbourne Storm line up before pondering the chance of a recall to the Queensland Origin team.
NEWCASTLE second-rower Clint Newton says St George Illawarra skipper Trent Barrett got off lightly with a six-match suspension for his hit on Knights teammate Brian Carney.
WOLVES too strong for Cas
WIDNES have completed the signing of former Wigan scrum-half Dennis Moran.
DRAGONS Supporters, What a fantastic week of sport we had served up to us last week. The mighty Blues get up on Wednesday night with a field goal, the Socceroos head off to Germany with a win over European Champions Greece, and then the Dragons smack Newcastle on their home turf! After the drubbing the Knights gave us at WIN stadium earlier this year, the Dragons must have been fired up for revenge and that was exactly what they dished out. On the back of a fairly good kicking game and a number of Newcastle errors, the Dragons went to the break with a 20-6 lead and were never headed in the second half. It's great to see what this football team is capable when they are on their game. Let's hope we see plenty more of that sort of form this year. This week's match is another Sydney grudge match, against the Parramatta Eels on Friday night. This will be the Dragons first home at Oki Jubilee and they will be expecting a sellout crowd to cheer the team home. Our screening this week is back at SteakOut at Crown Casino at 8:30pm. After the problems with Telstra which Crown experienced for the State of Origin, all was resolved for the telecast last Friday at Crown which was fine. We have been assured by the management we won't have any issues going forward and we will continue to use Crown for the Friday night and Sunday Channel Nine matches. WHAT: Dragons v EelsWHEN: Friday 2nd June, 8:30pmWHERE: SteakOut Sports Bar, Level 1 Crown Casino GO THE DRAGONS!!
FORMER Great Britain prop Paul Anderson is to take up a coaching role with Huddersfield at the end of the year.
PARRAMATTA back-row forward Glen Morrison has agreed to a three-year deal with engage Super League champions Bradford Bulls, according to reports in Australia.
LEEDS rediscovered their form with a dominant second-half display against Bradford to gain sweet revenge for last October?s Grand Final defeat courtesy of a 30-0 victory.
PAUL wins it for Quins
LUCKY seven for Hull
WIGAN'S woes continue
JONES inspires Dragons
FRIDAY, 2nd June 2006
BARTERCARD CUP ROUND 9 RESULTS AND STANDINGS