The amazing, fantastic NRL Judiciary
Last night Anthony Minichiello was exonerated for a Grade 3 striking charge for a forearm to the head of Josh Dugan.
The NRL web site reported “…had the 32-year-old been charged with dangerous contact or a careless high tackle offence, then he would almost certainly been suspended.
His counsel James McLeod successfully argued that his client’s actions were not strong enough to warrant a striking offence, where deliberate intent has to be proven.”
Now, I have nothing against Minichiello, in fact I think he has been a wonderful player and he seems to be a grand fellow.
However, how he got off that charge last night is akin to being charged with shoplifting, but proving that you were never strong enough to lift up the shop!
Mini attempted on two occasions to tackle Dugan. On both occasions he jumped high and clumsily appeared to try and take Dugans’ head off.
The second attempt saw him hit Dugan fair in the face with his forearm splitting Dugans’ eye and making him unable to get to his feet.
Regardless of no previous offences, he was entitled to sit on the sidelines for a few weeks.
But we are forgetting that this is rugby league! We are forgetting that this great game of ours is being officiated by men with viewpoints and legal nous that us, mere fans will never be able to experience. After all, these men are always found to be able to prove themselves correct, even when they have been proven incorrect.
Greg McCallum seems to have watched the video of the Dugan tackle and made a mistake by charging Minichiello with a “Striking Offence rather than a dangerous contact or careless High tackle offence”.
It must be a really hard decision to make Greg.
This is where the jokes cease and the jokers take centre stage.
All NRL fans want is consistency with the Judiciary and Match Review Committee! We ask the same of the referee’s but that seems to be asking way too much these days.
But, is it asking way too much of McCallum and his band of disciples to get it right? Considering they have days to consider their position and formulate their charges, why should they get any slack?
I don’t think we are expecting too much!
Yet, we are continually being astounded by their failure to win cases they should never lose and win cases that many of us believe shouldn’t have even been charged in the first place.
Intent should play a huge role in sentencing, but intent doesn’t seem to figure unless it suits the judiciary. Players making contact with the head by accident and players making contact with the head with purpose are treated the same way!
We’ve seen numerous players charged with accidental contact with the head charged and miss a game and others with worse or identical charges, let off.
The first thing the ARLC has to do in the off season, after fixing the Refereeing debacle, is to fix the judiciary. Throw out ringmaster Greg McCallum. He’s proven ineffectual. He has failed us time and time again.
After the Minichiello charge being defeated last night, Travis Burns must be choking on his breakfast wondering if his fortunes may be different had he played for the Roosters rather than Penrith.
These types of questions will continually be raised by NRL fans as long as certain clubs win at the Judiciary and certain clubs continually lose in the midst or ridiculous reasons, made up parameters and Judicial Chairmen such as Justice Woods being allowed to play active roles in sentencing rather than passive roles.
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