Penalty should fit crime if players intentionally injured: Manly duo
Senior Manly players Daly Cherry-Evans and Joel Thompson believe the NRL should look at changing the judiciary system for incidents when players miss games through an intentional injury.
The pair spoke before training at the club's Narrabeen headquarters but Dylan Walker was absent due to a fractured eye socket.
Walker will spend between four and six weeks on the sidelines but the player who punched him in the face - Melbourne centre Curtis Scott last Saturday at AAMI Park - will miss two matches after pleading guilty to a striking charge.
Scott apologised to Walker via a Twitter post from the Storm account but that's not much use to Manly now. Despite back-to-back wins against the Broncos and Storm, they are still four competition points outside the top eight heading into their clash with the Raiders in Canberra on Friday night.
"There's not much we can do about it at the moment. Maybe the NRL will change it going forward," said Thompson, who was also asked if Scott's penalty should have been harsher.
"But it comes back to the NRL – it's their decision to give him two weeks.
"I hope he learns from it because if I was throwing punches every time someone mouthed off there'd be punches every second tackle.
"It's part of footy but now we lose a quality player like Dylan for six weeks and Api [Koroisau. also charged with striking] for one. So it does hurt a bit."
Cherry-Evans would not reveal what Walker said to Scott in the 52nd minute that prompted the barrage of punches.
"You'd be so surprised, there was nothing in it – certainly it wasn't a personal attack or anything," Cherry-Evans said.
"Dylan is a pretty talkative person out on the field. I've seen and heard him say far worse."
But the Manly skipper felt there was no need to try to temper Walker's wagging tongue.
"No way. Mick Ennis never had to. It's a part of our game. He certainly wasn't the only one out there talking a bit of rubbish either."
Cherry-Evans agreed with Thompson it was hard to see how six weeks out for Walker equated to a punishment of just two weeks for Scott.
"Look it's not ideal. In a game where we're trying to keep our best 17 on the field - and Dylan is part of that for us, so we're short one our genuine first-graders for up to six weeks – and the repercussions for the other person involved is only half that, that's not ideal.
"But that's for the NRL to worry about. It's too hard for me to determine as well because sometimes in our game injuries are intentional and sometimes unintentional.
"That's why it is a cloudy area. [However] if that was a decision the NRL was to make that any form of striking led to injury, the repercussions could match the injury that would be fine with me.
"But that's not the case at the moment and that's what we have to deal with."
Manly CEO Lyall Gorman told NRL.com on Monday that he would "informally flag" with the NRL a need for greater balance between injury and penalty. He suggested the NRL's Competition Committee at season's end could look at the issue.
Whatever the outcome, the round-18 rematch between Manly at Storm at Lottoland on July 14 looks like being another fiery encounter. Players trading punches in 2011 between earned the "Battle of Brookvale" moniker and set the tone for future meetings.
"It's unfortunate," Thompson said. "It's going to be a heated battle when they come to Brookie no doubt."