NRLW Rd 4 - Knights v Dragons
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: Madison Bartlett of St George celebrates a try with team mates during the round four NRLW match between the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium, on March 20, 2022, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The NRL’s revamped judiciary code for the women’s game has been met with a hostile reception from NRLW stars thanks to allegations of disproportionate penalties.

The Daily Telegraph reports that, when comparing the length of the NRL and NRLW seasons as well as the salaries on offer, the penalties are significantly higher for the women’s game in relative terms.

It’s also been noted that many penalties have been notably upgraded from the last NRLW competition, which finished in March.

The new format has been labelled ‘disrespectful’ by Titans NRLW star Tazmin Gray, who has had her own recent experiences with the judiciary.

Gray was given a two-week suspension for a crusher tackle last season, which is the same penalty as in the men’s game but also represents nearly half of the NRLW season. In relative terms, an NRL player would miss nine weeks.

“It’s disrespectful to adopt a model that treats the NRLW the same to the NRL when it comes to sanctions,” Gray told The Daily Telegraph.

“This is the only time they want to treat us the same as the men, but it’s completely unfair.”

“If the game doesn’t think one-match bans are a deterrent from foul play, they seriously don’t understand what playing in this competition means to us.”

The changes come as governing bodies seek to standardise judiciary measures across both competitions, but this has increased the maximum ban in the women’s competition from two to three weeks, which is a huge chunk of the season.

RLPA general manager of for Elite Women Lina Caccamo echoed Gray’s sentiments.

“The new NRLW judiciary can’t be considered fair when players will miss a far higher percentage of the season for the same offence compared to the men.

“We value fair play and safety but we need to acknowledge the flow-on effect from missing two or more matches, it’s huge. Especially with a World Cup around the corner.”

“We acknowledge that player health and safety must come first, however penalties have to be fair and proportionate to the season length and salaries.

“There must be heavy scrutiny of the thresholds that are applied for the upcoming season. We’ll be advocating for a further review long before the 2023 season commences.”