Just when you thought the shoulder charge rule could not enter muddier waters, last night at the judiciary all three players who fought their charges, won.
Less than a fortnight after the NRL’s supposed crack down on the technique we have three players charged, and three players walking free without suspension.
To be honest I think the fact that Taufua was charged at all was laughable, as he was obviously bracing himself for impact.
The fact the collision with Jack Wighton involved the use of his shoulder was purely coincidental, and a waste of the judiciary’s time.
Isaac Luke’s case was a similar occurrence. Johnathan Thurston, while chasing a kick, run into Luke’s line, and rather than simply cop a flush on hit, Luke turned to brace himself for impact.
There was very little force in either, but the fact remains that there was use of the shoulder in both.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I fully support the ban on the shoulder charge.
Greg Inglis’s shot on Dean Young was sickening, and could have ended in absolute disaster. That is an obvious shoulder charge. That is the sort of tackle that should be banned.
Turning and bracing yourself, leading to impact with the shoulder, is now not a shoulder charge.
The referees have become so confused by the constant altering of the rules that they cannot keep up. Who can blame them?
The match review committee are charging everyone who even thinks of using a shoulder.
Following the decisions of last night, EVERY player who is charged with a shoulder charge will use these precedents as evidence to beat their charge.
All’s they have to do is claim they were bracing for impact, and that they used their upper arm, rather than a shoulder.
After looking at three instances where the shoulder was used, only for a zero from three record in terms of guilty findings, fans have every right to ask, is the shoulder charge banned or not?
Good luck even defining a shoulder charge.
The only players who have served a suspension for a shoulder charge since the rules were tightened are those who have accepted early please.
The only certainty out of this is that every player who is charged will fight said charge.
Fifita double trouble
Reports indicate the Fifita twins could be up for further sanctions following claims they were spotted at a junior league game despite being banned for a year from doing so.
Although you could argue that technically the twins were not violating their ban after never entering the grounds persay, you have to wonder why they would simply not go anywhere near the grounds.
For those who missed the reports, it’s said that the Fifita brothers were standing outside the fence to the ground from which they were banned.
It’s akin to a fan who while serving a stadium ban was seen standing outside Remondis Stadium and watching through the chain link fence.
I am a fan of the Fifitas, especially Andrew, but why would they put themselves in that situation?
Andrew, in interviews, said he was concerned his multi-million dollar contract would be torn up, only to risk being hauled in front of the board once again.
Management of both brothers were quick to rubbish reports linking the twins to a switch to rugby union, however you have to wonder just how committed to their club they are.
Surely the best course of action if for both players to serve their junior band, and focus on training with a look to returning to play in the finals for the Sharks.
Lyall Gorman has completely turned the Sharks around during his short time at the helm of the club, however he may be called upon to make a tough decision in the near future.
Foxtel vs the NRL
Following claims that Foxtel may walk away from rugby league after being frozen out of initial discussions over the new TV rights deal, everyone seems to have had their say.
Although most fans seem to believe Fox will eventually sign on to continue its NRL coverage, plenty have made it clear they will cancel their subscription should the provider fail to secure Pay TV rights.
The sports package is currently $25 a month, and the majority of those I have spoken to purchase this mainly due to the NRL coverage.
Foxtel face the very real chance of losing tens of thousands of subscriptions from like-minded fans.
For those with pay TV, would you cancel, or amend, your plan based on the outcome of TV right discussions?
If Foxtel were to pass on the rights, I have little double Netflix or Stan would jump at the opportunity.
Would you be happy to stream games online?
There are plenty of questions left to be answered, but if the NRL is hoping to top two billion dollars, Foxtel is going to have to come to the table with a big offer.