Todd Greenberg and the NRL have opened up a huge can of worms. They have done so with the edict that was implemented recently of zero tolerance for any player touching a referee – as inconspicuous as it may seem – unless it is deemed to have been unavoidable.
The one-week suspension handed out to Tyson Frizell was an absolute joke for him brushing the referee, most NRL experts were unanimous in their condemnation and bewilderment at the ruling.
There is a definite lack of consistency and contradiction in the NRL rulings with Alex Glenn of the Brisbane Broncos touching the referee on the shoulder in a recent match, yet escaping sanction.
If the NRL is going to implement a rule then they should make it black and white across the board with no ambiguity. Otherwise they are going to leave themselves open to criticism and some would say justifiably so.
Rugby league is a contact sport with players constantly being hit hard. This leaves some of them dazed and semi conscious, so it they happen to stumble in to a referee are they going to be suspended as well?
On a Sydney Radio Station recently Todd Greenberg inferred that players remonstrating with referees had become a major issue which it has. However, to categorise players who brush or bump in to a referee in the same boat is a knee-jerk reaction by the NRL.
Players who do remonstrate to a referee should be suspended. We are yet to see that happen though.
Until the NRL clearly defines what constitutes avoidable or unavoidable contact and shows some common sense and consistency when ruling on incidents of players contacting a referee, the uproar and confusion from both players and the fans will only continue.