Firstly, let me say, I think Billy Slater is one of the best (if not the best) fullbacks I have ever seen and I go back as far as the Les Johns’ era.
Unfortunately he is also one of the biggest grubs in the game and the match review committee need to come down hard on his cheap shots.
How the match review committee managed to come to the conclusion there was nothing wrong with his blatant late shoulder charge on Antonio Winterstein was mind-boggling enough, but to say that kick last night was not intentional is absolute rubbish!
This bloke is going to seriously hurt someone and then we will likely see a criminal law suit for assault.
The only difference between what he did to David Klemmer and what Eric Cantona did to Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons was that he did it on the field of play during a game and not to a fan who’d rubbed him up the wrong way.
Cantona was subsequently arrested and convicted for assault, resulting in a two-week prison sentence which was overturned in the appeal court and reduced to 120 hours of community service.
Now before the howls of “Turn it up, you can’t compare the two incidents” start flying, let me pose this question: if Slater had broken Klemmer’s jaw as Les Boyd did to Darryl Brohman in 1983 would he be within his rights to sue?
This method of catching the football must be outlawed and outlawed fast before someone get seriously hurt.
It has found it way into our game from European football where goalkeepers practice the act, but there is no place for it in rugby league.
It is simply another unprofessional trick that Craig Bellamy has brought into the game to physically hurt the opposition players thus gaining an advantage for his team.
Slater and Cameron Smith are his chief executors in this area, Smith the grub in the rucks and Slater in open play.
There are rules in place to protect the kicker and also the man catching the ball.
I now call for the game’s rule makers to put in place a rule to protect the chaser and I call for it to happen immediately before we have another Brohman-Boyd incident on our hands.