DISCORD 2013: Edition 20


ON Saturday afternoon in sunny Huddersfield, the locals’ Joe Wardle put one or two on the chin of Leeds’ Carl Ablett and was sent off.

Wardle was subsequently banned for two matches after entering an early guilty plea. It was the first dismissal of his career. A few hours earlier at Parramatta Stadium, Brisbane’s Josh McGuire put a couple on the chin of Eel Mitchell Allgood and was given a spell in the sin bin.

McGuire also entered an early guilty plea and escaped suspension.

On Monday, Sydney Roosters’ Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tackled Manly’s George Rose high and was sent off. Jared also entered an early guilty plea – and was suspended for five matches.

The purpose of this is not to provide another tiresome comparison between the way the rules are enforced in Super League and the NRL – although my contention on the BackChat show back in February about the disciplinary system in Australia being tougher is certainly looking very misguided now.

My point here is about sendings-off.

We seem to have completely separated the link that has always existed between dismissals and suspensions.

In the old days, when Jim Comans reigned, if you got sent off on a Sunday and then escaped a ban on a Monday night, you were lucky. If you didn’t get sent off but copped a long suspension, it was accepted that the referee stuffed up.

Today, we have the crazy situation of a player being suspended for five weeks and people still arguing he should not have been sent off! HELLO?

If you commit an act of foul play that results in you missing next week’s game, I would submit you deserve to miss the rest of this week’s too. The only exception to that rule of thumb would be if it is carryover points from a bad record that gets you suspended – referees can’t and shouldn’t take into account whether you’re a bad boy or a cleanskin.

Video reviews, reporting and citing have clouded the use of the simple logic that guided refereeing since 1895. Dirty play – off!

We have to go back to the notion that if a bloke coat-hangers, spears, elbows or punches someone severely enough to get a suspension of two or more weeks, then he should be sent off. And if he isn’t, the match officials stuffed up.

Forget all this malarkey about the “huge disadvantage of playing one man short in the modern game”. Do you think it was ever easy?

If I was a parent watching both competitions at the weekend, I would not be as worried about my kid playing in England as I would be in Australia.

To suggest someone deserves a marathon suspension after the event but did not deserve to be dismissed is complete and utter nonsense.

PS: Peter Sterling and Bill Harrigan had an interesting debate on Triple M last Monday about whether referees should do “homework” on teams and players.

Sterlo said this was prejudging – the sort of thing you get fined $10,000 for if you allege referees do. Harrigan argued it was just being thorough and professional.

I certainly hope referees’ “homework” didn’t contribute to Mitchell Allgood being sent to the sin bin for headbutting McGuire in the fist. Just sayin’….


COMMENTS time and they come from a variety of sources.

From last week’s column on the leaguehq.com.au site, Trent suggested that if players don’t make the Australian team and have heritage associated with another World Cup nation, they should be able to represent that nation. That’s pretty much how it works Trent, though with a few technical caveats.

Iambunny called for NRL and Super League players to be paid the same for Test appearances, regardless of the nation. That’s something this column has called for in the past. But the NRL has to foot the bill. Check out this story for an example of what can happen if things aren’t thought through properly: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10883837

read on

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