Cowboys coach Paul Green has slammed the NRL judiciary in the wake of their decision to downgrade Josh Reynolds’ dangerous throw charge from Wednesday’s State of Origin to a Grade 1 offence.
The 28th minute incident saw Cowboys winger Brent Tate cartwheeled in a two-man tackle involving Reynolds and second rower Beau Scott – an incident where Tate later said he had “never been more frightened in all my life”.
Green cited the lack of consistency between the incident and every other lifting tackle the NRL has presided over this year, saying the league has “taken a couple of steps back in terms of credibility of the judicial system” at a time that it needs to be making an example.
“I was extremely disappointed (in the decision), I thought that decision lacked consistency. After the way the NRL have come out and said how they want to treat lifting tackles going forward, and I wouldn’t be doing the right thing by our players if I didn’t come out and say that decision lacks complete consistency,” he said.
“My first concern was with Tatey given the injuries he’s had through his career, and whenever you see a tackle go as ugly as what that did, and given what’s happened this year in the competition, everyone’s first concern should be for the player and the NRL want to make the game as safe as possible.
“If (the judiciary) want to get credibility then they need to be consistent.”
Green also said the effect of this inconsistency not only brings into question the judiciary’s authority, but it takes a toll on players who find it hard to know where they stand.
“The players lose faith in the system. You go to the judiciary where you get put on report and you don’t know what’s going to come up. They make it hard for you to fight because the risk of being penalised further is often too great and then you get a decision like this. It’s just really disappointing.
“What can be done is that they stick to their word. In my opinion, you look at Tariq Sims’ tackle last week and the (Canberra player) contributed to it – he put his hand out and landed on his shoulder first and because of this supposed crackdown on these types of tackles, we agreed to take a Grade 2 grading, but given that the guys involved in that tackle in the Origin game don’t even miss a game, it’s just a joke.
“With Tariq Sims’ tackle, we had a good look at all the Grade 1s that have found to be a Grade 1 this season and I’m really disappointed in (the decision). If they can charge that as a Grade 1 then Tariq’s could almost get off compared to that tackle,” said an irate Green.
Looking to Saturday’s game against Melbourne, Green said that he would rather his Origin stars not play the entire 80 minutes given the physical nature of Wednesday’s Game One.
“My number one concern is the players. We go into the weekend trying to win the game, that’s the most important thing for us. If you get an opportunity to try and lighten the load on those guys, I have to consider their welfare and how they’ve pulled up and how they are going to be moving forward,” he said.
“If Games Two and Three are anything like Game One then it’s going to take its toll on everyone, this Origin series, so of course I have (player fatigue) in the back of my mind but they are professional guys and they’re also very competitive guys which is why they are the best players in our game.”