Sam Kasiano cleared as sanity prevails
Sam Kasiano off loads the ball. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay
Do you honestly think Sam Kasiano deserved a one-week ban? Forget the fact Fui Fui Moi Moi was left dazed and confused, forget that Parramatta had to play 79 minutes and 50 seconds of the match one man down and forget the fact Kasiano hit his opponent in the head.
Because it’s all irrelevant.
The NRL match review committee felt the Bulldogs prop deserved to miss Friday night’s blockbuster clash with Manly at Brookvale Oval.
For what? Tackling a man who fell to the height of his hip.
Yes, it’s terrible that Moi Moi was left sick and sorry, but Kasiano was hardly at fault.
What was he meant to do? How was he meant to complete a textbook tackle on a man falling at speed?
The defence argued that Moi Moi fell 50 centimetres in 0.4 of a second. Just take a minute to digest that.
50 centimetres in 0.4 of a second!
How is any rugby league player, let alone a giant forward meant to adjust his feet, body and arms to cope with those numbers?
You can’t. It’s impossible. Superman would struggle.
Rugby league seems to have fallen into the trap of thinking that any contact to the head, no matter what the circumstance, deserves a suspension.
The match review committee has taken a stronger stance on shoulder charges that slip high in 2012.
One match bans have been offered numerous times for offences that last year would’ve been considered a good tackle.
There’s no problem with that because in those instances both the tackler and the ball runner have been relatively upright.
The tackler has taken the gamble of hitting with the shoulder and must live with the consequence if it goes wrong.
Given the recent and startling evidence of the long term impact of concussion on sportspeople it’s only right that the NRL would take greater care of its players.
But to expect Kasiano to be able to show a duty of care to Moi Moi in this instance is stretching the limits of reality.
It’s extremely unfortunate that Moi Moi slipped at the last minute. It’s even more unfortunate that he was left rattled.
But to suspend Kasiano for a week would’ve sent rugby league down a dark path.
Thankfully, the NRL judiciary applied the common sense test.
You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia.
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