The NRL cannot afford any more Matai madness
121 Have your say
Steve Matai celebrates his try. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay
I have had enough of Steve Matai and his aggressive, in-your-face, style of play.
The self-styled Manly enforcer is no stranger to the judiciary and gets summoned there so often he might as well set up a bed and order room service.
This guy simply doesn’t cop the tip. Suspensions don’t seem to affect him in the slightest.
He enjoys his tough guy image – to hell with anyone who runs within a swinging-arm’s distance of him during the heat of battle.
He was at it again at the height of last Friday night’s big finals clash with the Bulldogs.
Dogs winger Sam Perrett became his latest high shot victim and told reporters he played the remainder of the game “on auto pilot” and nursing a sore jaw.
Matai was placed on report to face his 13th charge in five seasons. The stats show he has been rubbed out for a total of 20 weeks after being found guilty 10 times.
He will definitely cop a week’s suspension (because of the low grading) and hope the Sea Eagles live to fight another day in their 2012 campaign.
The points system seems out of whack for players in the repeat offender category. They seem to get off far too lightly.
Sure, Matai will miss the Cowboys game but will that be a deterrent? Will he learn anything from yet another poor tackle? I think not.
His rap sheet would be the equal of many street fighters – six careless high tackles, two reckless high tackles, two dangerous contact charges, as well as one for striking and another for contrary conduct.
In my book, that’s way too many chances for any footballer and I would like to see the judiciary call him in and throw the book at him. Maybe they should consider rubbing him out for a sustained period, if not, forever.
Forget the ‘careless’ part of his charges. Matai doesn’t seem to care at all where his arm goes when lining up an opponent.
It is a shocking look for the code and has to be stamped out by a judiciary panel that needs to crack down hard on high shot offenders, especially the serial ones.
Over the years, the game has tossed up many rugged and highly competent defensive centres who rarely attracted the attention or ire of referees.
Players such as Chris Mortimer, Matt Cooper and even Matai’s partner, Jamie Lyon, have been standouts as tacklers and didn’t need to belt rivals to earn their respect and admiration.
There is nothing wrong with a full-on, ball-and-all tackle on your opposing player. It does not have to be high to be effective, nor does it have to be done with the intention of causing any level of bodily harm.
Steve Matai’s tackling style never changes and I don’t think the Sea Eagles or the game of rugby league can afford him for much longer.
It’s time to out-tough the tough guy. Judiciary members – please rub him out for half a season if you have to.
Send him a message that rattles his teeth.
And if he transgresses again on his return, dole out another heavy penalty that will make season 2013 a mere memory.
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