The NRL are right on Tony Williams charge

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

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    Sea Eagles head coach Geoff Toovey will be replaced by Trent Barrett in 2016. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    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.

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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • March 22nd 2012 @ 7:57am
      oikee said | March 22nd 2012 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Your dealing with Toovey, please dont use Smart and Toovey in the same sentence. 😉
      Williams showed no remorse, he then went and tried to crusher the next guy he tackled. Better to rub him out now. If Taylor got 5 weeks last year, Williams should think himself lucky he only got 7.
      Toovey has been hanging around Des too long. Now he is a whining baby.
      I also think the game has got to start fining these coaches again for making comments in public. It is getting out of hand again now.
      Time to nip it in the butt. They have got to learn to cop it sweet. let bloggers do the whinging.

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 9:29am
        Mals said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Ok Oikee, put your tertiary qualifications & resume up on the Roar & we’ll compare it to Geoff Toovey’s. Geoff isn’t guilty of stupidity, he is going to argue his case for his player like any decent coach would do. Look at what Flanagan & Gallen said about the tackle in the media.

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 9:38am
        Ken said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        ‘Toovey has been hanging around Des too long.’

        Was thinking the same thing myself, whinge, whinge, moan, moan, everyone hates us, everyone’s against us, it’s all a big conspiracy. He hasn’t been working with Meninga so he must have gotten it from Des’s playbook!

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 10:59am
        Jeff McGinn said | March 22nd 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        Yeah Oikee, you are 100% right , He should have also faced charges for trying to rip the other guys head off. I think a few years ago Cam Smith got a few games suspension for a similar tackle and there was a huge outcry of ‘SHAME’ . That tackle didn’t look half as aggressive as this one, yet, not one word has been said about it!

        Manly certainly create a little controversy in their games… lol

    • March 22nd 2012 @ 9:30am
      B.A Sports said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      Its in the MAnly culture to complain about every decision. It is a bullying tactic. You watch a Manly game and Jamie Lyon will go up to the referee the first time MAnly are penalised in every game. It doesn’t matter if the penalty comes in the third or 33rd minute, he goes up. Just to bully and complain. You watch every time Maanly are penalised, at all th eplayers throwing their hands in the air.

      Thats on the field.

      Off the field we have seen them complain about every punishment handed out, and most of us recognise that where there is smoke there is fire and there have been countless issues and allegations against Manly players in recent years which the NRL has not got invovled in when they probably should have.

      The Williams tackle and Farrah tackles are not even close. Park their records, Farah doesnt’ go on with the tackle, Williams does. There was malice in that tackle. Just because he is a softly spoken guy, doesn’t make him sweet and innocent.

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 1:56pm
        oikee said | March 22nd 2012 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        🙂 It is hard not to notice. Like them keeping all these players under the cap again. Will be a good laugh shortly, hey Mals.

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2012 @ 9:32am
      Brett McKay said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      Luke, I don’t often agree with Geoff Toovey, but his call for more transparency around how a grading was reached has merit. Toovey’s comment that you don’t get to find out how they came up with the grading until you actually get into the judiciary room seems rather archaic. I know the AFL detail all elements in how they arrive at a grading and charge at the initial point of laying the charge.

      I do agree that the they got the charge right, but I don’t think it would hurt anyone by having more transparency in how charges are formed..

    • March 22nd 2012 @ 9:33am
      Mals said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      Ok Luke let’s take the loading argument out of the equation here. If Williams like Farrah had no loading the judiciary is saying Williams flip tackle is 250% worse (5 weeks compared to 2 weeks) than Farrah’s spear tackle. This is clearly ridiculous!

      • Columnist

        March 22nd 2012 @ 9:41am
        Brett McKay said | March 22nd 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Mals, I think that says more about how lucky Farah was to only get two weeks…

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 10:10am
        B.A Sports said | March 22nd 2012 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        No its not!

        De Gois was inches from bleeding through his eyes (ie his spine touching his skull). The Farah tackle, while approaching dangerous had no where near the force, not to mention the angle to cause the sort of damage that could have been done by WIlliams reckless tackle.

        Mals you are clearly a Manly fan (hence the complaining nature), so maybe you should sit out on this issue..

        • March 22nd 2012 @ 11:52am
          eagleJack said | March 22nd 2012 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          B.A Sports it would appear you have an issue with Manly so perhaps you should sit out the issue.

          I have no problems with the Grading for Tony Williams tackle and think the punishment fits the crime. My issue is with the fact that if Tony Williams had made that tackle on Hornby instead of Farah, with force etc all being equal, would it still be a Grade 2? Of course not!

          The Judiciary guidelines (are there any?) are too subjective and from a fan’s perspective it appears that they simply play rock-scissor-paper to come up with a Grading. A player’s past, size etc should have no bearing on the Grading. Those subjective guidelines can come into it later when adding loading. But it is clear that they are involved from the outset and Toovey is right in asking for more transparency. Right now the Match Review Committee are a law unto themselves.

          • March 22nd 2012 @ 1:51pm
            B.A Sports said | March 22nd 2012 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            I don’t doubt that the match review commitee and the judicary could be done with alot more transperancy.

            In the Dragons game alone there were multiple tackles that did not receive charge that should have.

            But the tackle by Williams in my opinion, and it would seem in the opinion of many, is FAR worse than the one by Robbie Farah and the grading was acceptable to me. If I look at other recent bad tackles, Dave Taylor got five weeks for his last year and the year before Glenn Stewart got 5 weeks (i think) for his cheap late shot on Anasta. To me this tackle was the worse than both of these and probably the most ordinary and horrific thing i have seen on a field since Danny Williams.

            He could have thrown him to the ground before he got him to horizontal, but when on with it and never let him go and it was luck, not good management that De Gois went beyond three sixty and didn’t break his neck.

        • March 22nd 2012 @ 12:44pm
          Mals said | March 22nd 2012 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

          You are a hoax BA Sports. IF my Aunty balls she would be my uncle.

    • March 22nd 2012 @ 10:27am
      Gareth said | March 22nd 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      Something I’m noticing a lot of recently is an overwhelming number of comments from NRL players and coaches that are:

      – Feigning stupidity/ignorance/inability to understand simple comments
      – Teenage girl levels of passive aggression
      – Implications that if anyone was to disagree, they’d be directly advocating a soft, watered down version of the game we love.

      Am I the only one? Maybe it’s become acceptable in the wake of the Storm player’s watertight defense of “Duuurrrrr. Me not know what contract. Me play football, scratch X on paper when naughty man ask.” when under fire for their role in the salary cap rort – but I think it’s really pissweak. Just come out and say what you mean instead of something like ” Oh, well. It’s not like Tony wanted to play 7 weeks of football anyway, he’s got better things to do, like building childrens hospitals and making shoes for orphans. We’re just disappointed that the NRL has turned its back on the time honoured tradition of gentle giants accidentally bashing spines against the nearest hard surface. Jack Gibson would be spinning in his grave if he had lived to see what this once proud man’s sport has become.”

      The only valid point Toovey raised was the notion of full transparency in the decision, but I suspect they have to keep a lid on the exact criteria so it doesn’t come back to bite them next time Jarryd Hayne and Billy Slater take it in turns to put dog shots on each other a week out from Origin.

    • Columnist

      March 22nd 2012 @ 10:44am
      Ryan O'Connell said | March 22nd 2012 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      You just can’t have tackles like that in the game. It was ugly, dangerous and unacceptable.

      Malice or no malice, you need to heavily penalise such incidents.

      • March 22nd 2012 @ 4:39pm
        sheek said | March 22nd 2012 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

        Agreed 100%.

        Unintentional, careless, no malice, didn’t mean to, poor discipline, poor technique – these are not acceptable excuses.

        Far too often players try to hide behind these excuses when they had every intention to deliberately hurt their opponent.

        What if De Grois had broken his neck & ended up in a wheelchair?

        Guys need to understand that they can still be tough, but they have to play within the rules. For everyone’s safety.

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