The NRL are right on Tony Williams charge
Sea Eagles head coach Geoff Toovey. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Manly coach Geoff Toovey has called for an overhaul of the NRL match review committee. Strangely, it came after one of their most sound decisions. Tony Williams needed to be hit and hit hard. His tackle on Isaac De Gois could’ve left him with severe injuries.
When asked about the tackle after the game on Monday night, Toovey thought a penalty was sufficient enough. Williams should’ve been sent off.
Toovey also admitted Williams put De Gois in a dangerous position, but it didn’t matter because the Cronulla hooker landed safely. Really?
Now, the former Sea Eagles hooker claims the match review committee got the grading all wrong.
Williams would’ve copped a five-week ban, but loading from two previous non-similar offences bumped up the punishment by 40 percent.
It’s the third time he has been charged in his last seven matches.
A careless high tackle against Brisbane during last year’s finals series and a high tackle on England’s Ben Westwood during last year Four Nations tournament have come back to bite him.
He’s a wrecking ball, but being “a big strong boy” as Toovey reminded everyone yesterday doesn’t give him free reign to do what he likes.
Toovey complained about a lack of transparency from the match review committee. He says clubs should get an explanation of why an incident is graded as one, two, three or four when the charges are laid.
He has a point, but it’s not as if Manly wasn’t given that explanation. It’s my understanding that club officials were taken through the decision making process.
The match review committee had at least seven different criteria to check it against and Williams’ tackle met every single one of them.
De Gois is extremely lucky he walked away from the challenge. Williams showed little to no regard for his safety.
Toovey said “There wasn’t any malice in the tackle.”
Does that instantly excuse the international from any responsibility?
No-one has been foolish enough to label Williams a thug or a bully either. He’s neither. But a bad tackle is a bad tackle and the punishment fits the crime.
Some commentators have pointed to the fact Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah was able to take the early guilty plea and miss two weeks for his spear tackle on St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hornby.
Farah was helped by the fact he had no loading. If Williams also had a clean slate his punishment would’ve been less, but he doesn’t.
Why does the club find this so hard to understand?
The match review committee doesn’t just sit around and throw darts at numbers on the wall and decide it’s a grade four.
In this case, they should be commended instead of criticised.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.