SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Peter Wallace of the Panthers makes his point the referee Ashley Klein during the round four NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Penrith Panthers at WIN Stadium on March 27, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Earlier in the year I proclaimed that I was going to avoid negativity where possible when it comes to the NRL, but when the match review committee and judiciary continue to make the decisions they do, it’s tough not to be a little hot under the collar.

Panther prop Sam McKendry was last night suspended for one week due to placing a hand on a match official in an incident that looked very similar to multiple incidents which were given a free pass earlier in the season.

Photos of Johnathan Thurston placing an arm in an almost identical fashion have hit social media. Thurston was not sanctioned for the ‘incident’.

When Todd Greenberg was appointed, I listed the issues he needed to handle, with the MRC and judiciary inconsistency being top of the list.

Unfortunately it looks as though, if anything, the hit or miss system has gotten even worse over the past fortnight.

Greg Bird was sighted for a shot on James Maloney that wasn’t within the same league as a shot just a few weeks earlier by Manly forward Marty Taupau on Jack Bird, yet attracted the same punishment.

Earlier in the season the judiciary became a running joke, after literally every player who contested their charge was found not guilty and had their possible bans overturned.

The system was being laughed at by fans of other sports, but at least we had consistency.

Last night’s verdict is nothing short of a joke, in context.

By the book, the decision was exactly correct. Players were warned not to touch match officials with the punishment of a one or two match ban floated for those found guilty of just that.

Given the fact that players were warned, neither McKendry nor the Panthers can have any complaints.

Except the fact that five-or-so almost identical incidents led to no suspension.

So why was McKendry suspended while the likes of David Klemmer and Kieran Foran escaped suspension?

Yes McKendry did make contact with a match official, but the touch was akin to placing a hand on a friend while telling an awful joke.

The only awful joke here is the inconsistency when dealing with near identical incidents.

I’m not a Panthers fan, but as a fan of rugby league I don’t want to see two players commit similar offences for vastly different judiciary outcomes.

I’m more than happy to see players cop one week suspensions for breaking the clearly outlined rules, but ONLY if there is some level of consistency when decisions are handed down.

What happened to the common sense approach that seemed to be applied a month earlier?

Players who accidently brush past, or instinctively reach out and make contact are obviously not aiming to harm officials.

If common sense cannot be applied, implement a mandatory one match ban for every referee contact, or a fine like the AFL use.

Something, anything. Stop the madness, please I beg of you. It literally makes my head hurt having to digest these sorts of incidents.

Ivan Cleary sitting pretty

Former Warriors and Panthers coach surely won’t be out of work for too much longer considering the horrible form of some of the sides right now.

Jason Taylor continues to come under pressure after the Tigers poor run of form, while the Dragons and Warriors aren’t exactly living up to expectations either.

I don’t like to death ride coaches, but if the Tigers don’t turn things around over the next two months, I can’t see how Taylor survives.

Truth be told I still fully expect Cleary to be named Warriors coach for 2017 and beyond regardless of how the team travels this season.

I have no inside information, but it just makes sense.

Cleary was the man at the helm during the Warriors last serious title run and fans weren’t happy to see their coach leave for the Panthers.

I’m a big fan of Cleary’s and still can’t believe he is not still in charge at the Panthers, but I don’t think he’ll be without work for too much longer.

Kiwis set to fly

Yesterday I listed the likely Kangaroos side for the upcoming test match. Looking at the likely make up of the Kiwi side, this could be one absolute belter of a test match.

Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran are two of the best halves in the competition, while Jesse Bromwhich is arguably the best prop in the game.

SKD and Jason Taumalolo are two form players in their respective positions.

Although RTS won’t be available for selection, the likes of Hiku, DWZ, Lolohea, Kahu and Rona across the backs, they will have no trouble finding the line.

Thrown in the likes of Proctor, Glenn, Blair, Mataulino, Harris and co and there is absolutely no weakness in this side.

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