Inside this week's issue of Big League magazine...
Outgoing NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum has admitted the extent of the injury to Cowboys hooker Ray Thompson played a significant role in the suspension given to Knights prop Kade Snowden.
Snowden will play no part in the 2013 Finals after pleading guilty to a Grade 4 shoulder charge that occurred in the 65th minute of their Round 24 clash in Townsville. Thompson’s jaw was broken, ending his season and subsequently earning Snowden a seven-week suspension.
With conjecture surrounding the grading and a shoulder charge by Bulldogs’ forward Frank Pritchard that same weekend that resulted in a Grade 2 charge and a two-week suspension, McCallum moved to clarify that medical evidence is referred to in determining a grading.
“One of the things that hasn’t been particularly clear out of the grading is that the match review committee, under the code, is called upon to consider injury in the grading of an offence,” said McCallum, who is stepping down after 10 years as chairman at the end of the season.
“A player can’t be charged on the basis of an injury but he can be graded on the basis of an injury after he has been charged. In the Kade Snowden case it was clear that once we considered his actions as being careless then the penalty that was applied was based very much on medical evidence where the player had a serious facial injury.
“In Kade Snowden’s case we believed he was careless, but his loadings also played a part. Two hundred-and-sixty points out of his penalty were made up of loadings – it was his third charge of the year – and also carry-over points.”
Despite being without their big prop, Knights captain Jarrod Mullen said coach Wayne Bennett shapes as their not-so-secret weapon.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster, [Bennett’s] been there and done that,” Mullen said. “Everyone’ really excited to be in the finals but we don’t want to be here to make up the numbers. We want to be a force.”