SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Billy Slater arrives with Craig Bellamy ahead of his judiciary hearing into an alleged charging offence at NRL HQ on September 25, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Billy Slater has been cleared to play for the Melbourne Storm in the Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters after successfully challenging his shoulder-charge suspension.

Slater was charged by the match review committee following the Storm’s preliminary final win over the Cronulla Sharks after making a tackle on Sharks winger Sosaia Feki which looked to be a shoulder charge.

The charge resulted in a one-game suspension, so Slater and Storm decided to challenge the ruling in attempt to allow him to play in the Grand Final.

During the hearing, Slater claimed that at all times he was trying to get himself between the ball and the try-line, including wrapping his arm around the attacker.

Slater argued that Feki changed his angle at the last moment which caused the collision to appear like a shoulder charge and the outcome was the safest possible contact for both players.

The NRL counsel was led by Anthony La Surdo with the main argument being that Slater made no attempt wrap his arm around Feki.

The three man panel of Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane deliberated for what seemed an eternity after hearing both sides but in the end, Slater was cleared of any wrong doing and will line up at fullback on Sunday night.

56 COMMENTS

    • They will refrain from altering this loophole, Cameron Smith retires next season. The window therefore must be left open. As no team has won three premierships in a row since the historic city of Parramatta collected way back in the early 1980’s.

    • I love rule changes before a GF.

      My money is on Slater for the Clive Churchill Medal. He is a special!
      The NRL want their fairy tale!

  1. I knew he will get away with it, Absolutely disgusting, if it would been some one else he would been suspended.
    Is GrubSlater bigger than the game????

    • Money is bigger than the game. Wouldn’t want to waste the ratings blockbuster that is a legend retiring.

      No integrity. James William Ackerman‘s family must be extra sad tonight.

      I won’t be watching.

    • NRL has zero credibility and less integrity after this decision. We all knew what the outcome would be. Touched his pec first my arse. Clear as day a shoulder charge it was. What about all those players that have copped a few weeks on the sidelines previously just for actually bracing themselves in defence? How do they feel? DUPED thats how. Slater wasn’t bracing he was attacking with his shoulder. Typical conflicted NRL

    • He got away with it because it wasn’t a proper shoulder charge just hack it there’s no way that tackle deserved a suspension it was the right call

  2. What a disgrace.
    Anyone who has been suspended for a shoulder charge should tell absolutely disgusted. This just go’s to show that not only is the NRL fixed but this grub and the storm are a protected species.
    NRL is dead.

  3. Shoulder charge is back you beauty. SBW will probably return to the NRL season.
    Good luck to Billy but what a joke of a decision.
    Wouldn’t happen in any other code.
    Disgraceful and definitely unfair to all the other players who have been suspended for something similar

  4. Ah well, such is life. I remember another retiring player who was a grub in Justin Hodges, although Billy has never been a grub, and got off on sentimental grounds like this Billy boy has because he was retiring and his last game was a grand final. Karma quickly visited him and he retired after the grand final not to pleased with Ben Hunt, for dropping the extra time kick off. Most fans agreed the tackle was a shoulder charge in Slaters case. Looks like two weeks in a row Karma and the Roosters are Allies💪😎👍

  5. Seriously, we’re calling Slater a grub?
    Is it because of this (sort of, could be a) shoulder charge, or in general?
    When I was watching it, I thought that should have 10 in the bin, but the refs and commentators, and in fairness, barely the opposition players, thought that was even worth a mention, and now he’s a “grub”?
    I’m still not sure whether it should have carried a suspension or not, but I’m actually glad it didn’t.

      • Maybe, or maybe the rules are grey.
        Exactly how long is “holding”, and do the refs have stop watches?
        I know the 10 metre offside rule, but do the refs have, and use, a tape measure in order to seperate the 9.99m’s from the 10.01m’s?
        But as per my comment, I still don’t know whether I would have suspended him, if it was my call.

        • The tackle was a shoulder charge. In exactly the same situation but up field 20 or so metres in one particular classic 2003 grand Final, who remembers a runner way Todd Berne and a tackle over the side line by Scott Sattler? After debuting for Melbourne in 2003 Slater how could he go into the judiciary and plead with success that his shoulder charge tackle was the only possible safe procedure to execute it. Had Slater put his head behind the backside of the player they both would of been over the sideline and the shoulder charge would not have to be discussed.

          The NRL thrives on people with low intelligence to join this sport. They do not like their cheating lies to be challenged by thinkers and observers of facts. For now they are saying if a shoulder charge hits below the ball carriers shoulder and no attempt to use arms on the shoulder charge side of the body, then it is now a tackle. Greenberg has created a new rule 5 days out from a grand final. Furthermore he has two Queenslander lovers as referees for the decider. I am afraid this 2018 Grand Final has already been played out in the NRL Headquarters with this appalling judiciary ruling and the appointment of the one sided referee. If I was a betting man as the NRL are always promoting to our youth. Then my tip would be Melbourne but something tells me Easts by three tries and justice prevails.

    • Only NSW people are upset they just can’t hack it that the greatest ever is from Queensland and he’s gonna go out like the champion he is

      • Only an idiot banana bender would come up with stupity like you just wrote, It is was a shoulder charge and it is nothing to do with if you are from NSW or Qld. The bloke escaped punishment when he shouldn’t have. If Tedesco had made the same tackle then he should of been suspended. People are not talking about which state he plays for they talking about why a player was let off for a blatant shoulder charge.🚮

      • Who invited you you jonny come lately inbred? Your six fingered parents know you’re posting on this site or what. You haven’t come up with one single decent response to any comments yet. Another product of the Qld education system I see. Back in you box you flea.

  6. I don’t see any attempt to wrap his arms, best defensive fullback to ever play the game imo, he has over 300 games next to his name, and he reckons he had no other way of making that tackle? Wrap the arms and lead with the chest, wrap the right arm keep your head behind and lead with the right shoulder? Plenty of options.

  7. Seems to me those who are in high places within the NRL, have indeed demanded that their be leniency towards this blatant shoulder charge. They always intended to exonerate Billy Slater, for the good of the game in their continual promotion of Rugby League within the state of AFL made lovers. Had Slater been suspended, for his last game, albeit a Grand Final then, subsequently fans in the Melbourne following, would depart forever over the treatment of their beloved Billy the Kid. Slater has attracted thousands of followers into the world of Rugby League from AFL.

    The NRL need Melbourne to win back to back so they can show off and display that the game is, in their minds, a national sport. As the previous back to back premiers was a different capital city team, that being Brisbane.

    Tonight’s decision is a farce and a total travesty of justice. Will Greenberg appeal for justice as he did towards Dylan Napa when he demanded for harsher punishment? Do not hold you breath for Greenberg to come forward and speak about this matter. For he is the orchestrator. Decisions so obvious of being tampered with by those in charge proves to all, that Rugby League is a business and is always being manipulated by a team of misfits. Remember Greenberg at the start of this season and all through the season has been ordering the refereeing to be continually changed with various crack downs. Now this bawled Bulldog has rigged the grand final

    Although I am a South Sydney Fanatic, under these circumstances I shall be wishing the Sydney Roosters all the best in their quest foe a lap of honor over this scandalous Melbourne team. My desire is for justice to again this week prevail.

  8. The nrl are treating us like idiots,that is a shoulder charge every day of the week.
    This years grand final is between a team that should be at in the wwe and a team that’s been put together with no expense spaded.
    I’ve lost all confidence in this administration and am totally disillusioned where we are heading.
    I won’t be watching this game

  9. Good no one should miss a game for that weak nothing tackle. All you princesses complaining snap out of it

  10. Does anyone know why the Jake Friend spear tackle has been overlooked. It wasn’t an accident, he picked Inglis leg up and drove downwards with force. Far worse than the Slater tackle and yet, nothing.

  11. And so the fairytale ending for Slater begins to unfold as many suspected it would. Shoulder charge every day of the week. We can only hope that the chooks spoil the party. Its been a very disappointing season for consistency or lack there of. No wonder people are turning away in droves….

  12. I hope someone “peck charges” Billy during the game. Does this now mean players don’t need attempt to wrap their arms during a tackle? They can now brace and charge an attacking player, as long as the shoulder doesn’t connect first?

  13. BREAKING NEWS:

    Cronulla player Feki has been suspended for 3 weeks for bringing the game into dispute! Billy Slater embarrassed!

  14. LOL Kelby! Everyone knows that was a shoulder charge, every current and ex-player agreed it was and for Billy to stand up and say it wasn’t is a disgrace and a poor example of sportsmanship. The judiciary is a joke and the NRL has lost all respect (what little it had).

  15. and just like that, the NRL has their idea of a ‘blockbuster’ with the ‘Cronk v Slater & Smith in Slater’s last game’ sub-stories the media can keep flogging over and over again.

    they banned lifting tackles, shoulder charges and most of the Storm-made cannonball, chicken-wing, crusher tackles in the name of player safety, and to stop the families and parents pulling their kids out of the game, lest it be too dangerous.

    but wait! Cronk might not be playing! So better let Billy play so there is something to write about.

    And with the Storm in the GF going for back-to-back premierships, they keep the small Melbourne fan-base interested for another week while they think they can compete with the AFL down there.

    And they think we cant tell or wont notice what their plan is, or even if we do notice, we cant do anything about it.

    welcome to the NRL.

  16. It was a lose/lose situation for the NRL, if he got suspended there would of been as many arguments for him to play. You can’t call call him a grub, blame the NRL for the grey area, and praise Melbourne for coming prepared and so well done that they couldn’t come up with a reason to suspend him from their argument.

    And before anyone gets on bored the wagon.
    – no I’m not from QLD/Melbourne
    – no I don’t go for Melbourne
    – I was happy to see him suspended or not

  17. it also shows that the NRL is saying the refs got it wrong twice, but in different ways!
    The refs called it a penalty for a shoulder charge on the field, so the NRL Judiciary is saying the refs got it wrong, it wasn’t a shoulder charge, should have been play on.
    but the NRL admitted that Slater should have gotten 10minutes for a professional foul… which means it WAS a shoulder charge…but the on-field penalty wasnt the right call!
    So which is it NRL?

    • andyj, the NRL judiciary is independent from the NRL and the referees (apparently). This is not the first time the judiciary has gone against the rules of the game. I think its because the media is full of players. They say ‘the game administration needs more ex players. People who know the game.’ The NRL is full of ex players and ex sportmen. They all idolise each other and talk about how people outside the game don’t understand what its like playing professional sport. The common denominator is that they spent their sporting careers all trying to bend the rules of the game as professional players do. Deep down they dont respect the rules of the game. I say the media and the NRL needs less ex players. Then you can weed out messes like this where administrators can apply logic rather than touchy feely rubbish that people like Phil Gould bang on about. The rules are the rules. The media needs to stop making excuses for their idols and call it how it is.

  18. Why were there rooster supporters standing outside the hearing last night as we saw on the live broadcast?
    Was it consensual?

    • Because they know the grand final was being played last night. I wonder was the gambling industry on the judiciary.

  19. Easy to call everybody bitter NSW spooks but it seems you can’t even defend the decision. This decision is no small thing and makes a mess of the entire adjudication of the game – well at least a fair bit more s%^t than it already was. All so we dance around this teflon individual, who is undoubtedly a champion player but shouldn’t be bigger than the game and shouldn’t be playing. Always thought he was a cat, so this pretty much caps off his career. Its even fitting. Will taint the storm if they win (but LOL thats pretty standard for the Storm).

    The NRL taking the game to a new level of unprofessionalism.

  20. Wow NRL is a joke he won the Best player of the State Of Origin series now escapes a clear shoulder charge. NRL needs to sell tickets othrwise nobody will turn up

  21. It was a shoulder charge. But because its Billy Slater, a Grand Final and his last game, he got off. It will open up a hornets nest next year if anyone is charged.

  22. I think he should have been suspended.

    Of all the hated QLD players (I’m a QLDer) – Billy really is the most sly one. He does have moments where he just does whatever he feels like to affect the game and it seems pretty clear to me that despite his protests, he was 100% committed to just doing whatever he could.

    What I don’t understand is what they are doing with the shoulder charge after this – there have been a lot of shoulder charges that have not gone to the judiciary. I feel like I’ve seen Billy pinged for shoulder charges at least on one other occasion in a game this season, too.

    Maybe they should just clean it up by sinbinning the player for a non damaging shoulder charge.

  23. I hope Dylan Napa gives this cheat a shoulder charge when the chance comes and give him something that he will never remember💪😎👍

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