Cronulla striker Dale Finucane has been banned for three matches after being found guilty of a high shot on Panthers center Stephen Crichton.
He opted to plead his case in the NRL court on Tuesday night after being accused of making dangerous contact when his head contacted Crichton in a tackle on Saturday night, leaving the Panthers center concussed and requiring surgery plastic to repair an ear.
On the pitch, Finucane was judged for not leading with his shoulder or arm and so managed to avoid conceding a penalty but was hit with a two-match ban the following morning.
Finucane will miss the Sharks’ next three games, which will be against South Sydney, St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers.
Penrith manager Ivan Cleary said the Match Review Committee’s decision to charge Finucane proved he should have been penalized on the pitch.
“It was wrong, clearly,” he said. “It was quite forceful… You would think it would have been a penalty at least. I think everyone thought that.
Tuesday night will be a busy night for the NRL bench, with Canterbury striker Corey Waddell leading the panel for allegedly gouging out Tino Fa’asuamaleaui’s eyes in the Bulldogs’ loss to Gold Coast.
Waddell was sworn directly to court without an opportunity to enter a plea.
Crichton underwent plastic surgery on Monday and will miss this weekend’s matchup with Parramatta, per league concussion protocols. He could return for Penrith’s Round 21 game against Canberra but may need to wear headgear to protect his ear.
“They just have to stitch (the ear) back together,” Cleary said. “There’s a bit of cartilage involved, which is why he needs to go see a plastic surgeon.”
Klein pays the price for a bunker error
Ashley Klein paid the price for his bunker blunder in the Cowboys’ controversial win over the Wests Tigers on Sunday by being dropped for Round 20.
Klein, who advised on-field referee Chris Butler to award North Queensland the winning penalty, was dropped from all appointments for all eight matches.
It’s a quick fall down the pecking order for Klein, who has refereed all three State of Origin games.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has left the door open for the NRL to overturn the Wests Tigers’ controversial loss to North Queensland but says the prospect is extremely unlikely.
The Tigers remain furious with the 27-26 loss in which the Cowboys were granted the right to contest a play in the last second before being wrongly awarded a penalty.
The ARL committee is awaiting a full report on the match, including the interpretation and application of key rules in the closing seconds of the match.
The Tigers are awaiting the report before deciding their next step, having already asked the NRL for a proper explanation and transcripts of conversations between the referee and the bunker.
There remains a possibility that the joint venture will appeal the result, if they feel that due process was not followed and they should have secured a 27-26 victory.
Several other clubs are watching with interest as just four points separate the Cowboys in second place and Parramatta in seventh.
Although V’landys said it was possible the points could be awarded to the Tigers, he didn’t think that should be the case.
“What stays on the ground stays on the ground. People respect that,” V’landys said.
“I would be very doubtful if it was canceled. But, all options are open.
“That’s one thing about this commission, we’re very flexible. And we will always listen and give people due process and natural justice.
“It’s not my decision, it will be a committee decision and I will be very surprised if it is overturned because in my opinion what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.”
Trailing 26-25 with a second to play, the Cowboys were able to claim that Kyle Feldt was escorted on a short kickoff and scored from the penalty spot.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley has since admitted the penalty should not have been awarded, with insufficient evidence to suggest Tigers center AJ Kepaoa deliberately altered his line.
But the Tigers’ main concerns are not so much about the bunker escort call which the NRL has since acknowledged as incorrect, but the process that led to it.
The club continue to argue whether the review should have taken place given that no escorts were called to the pitch, and the match at that time should have been declared over.
If they are to pursue a legal challenge for the points, they are likely to start with a request for a meeting between Tigers president Lee Hagipantelis and V’landys.
“I spoke to the president of the Tigers, I understand his position,” V’landys said.
“He shows leadership for his fans and his members and I respect that.”
“We will sit down, I asked for a report on the game and the interpretation of the rule.”
Eels gather around Arthur
Parramatta second rower Shaun Lane has said being booed by home fans is part of being an NRL player, after Jakob Arthur was targeted by sections of the home crowd Eels on lap 19.
Back rower Ryan Matterson said most Parramatta fans would never think of booing their team’s players.
“It’s not lit,” he said, “It’s disappointing. You don’t want that in the game.
“You go to the game because you support your club. The majority of the fans who were there, they were cheering us on and supporting us.
“It was a small part of the crowd that could have booed Jakey but it didn’t really affect him or the group of players.”
Part of the crowd booed Arthur, the son of Parramatta head coach Brad, when the CommBank stadium ground announcer read out the Eels squad ahead of Thursday night’s clash with Brisbane.
The 19-year-old is on the fringes of Parramatta’s first-year side and played five minutes on the bench in just his second game since a brief stint at five-eighth at the start of the season.
In April, coach Arthur moved five-eighth first-choice Dylan Brown to centers as injury cover and played his son there for two games, in a move that sparked online trolling Parramatta fans.
Eels’ teammates said Arthur was unfazed by the boos and his low social media profile shielded him from negative comments.
“He did that a short time ago,” Lane said, “but he’s a resilient kid. He doesn’t read any of that stuff.
“It’s part of the game. He’s going to have a small target on his back being the coach’s son. I’m sure he knows it, Brad knows it. It’s just part of the job.
Speculation that the Eels could lodge a complaint with the NRL over the booing incident has died down, with the club confirming to AAP on Monday that the matter will not be escalated.