Slater’s dive claims split NRL opinion


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    Newcastle veteran Chris Heighington has called for referees to clamp down on supposed gamesmanship from Billy Slater after the Kangaroos and Queensland star was accused of diving.

    Storm teammate Felise Kaufusi also leapt to the defence of Slater on Monday in response to being taken to task by rugby league legends Brad Fittler and Peter Sterling over the weekend.

    Slater has twice been at the centre of professional fouls this year after he fell to the ground after seemingly light contact with Cronulla’s Luke Lewis in round four before a similar incident with Newcastle’s Lachlan Fitzgibbon on Friday night.

    Under NRL rules, referees deem a player has committed a professional foul if he “interferes” with a player after he has taken a quick tap.

    On both occasions the opposition players were sent to the bin following the contact, but Fitzgibbon’s teammate Heighington believes referees needed to be aware of the matter.

    “If he (Slater) can get away with it why not do it. It’s one of those things – the refs probably have to crack down on it,” Heighington told reporters in Newcastle.

    “At the time out on the field I felt pretty hard done by, but that’s the rules and you’ve got to stick by them.

    “He got away with one the week before so I thought they could have been onto it a bit more.

    “It was a weak penalty and you get 10 minutes without a player on the field. I don’t think it’s right.”

    Fitzgibbon wasn’t willing to be as critical, accepting his fault in the matter after he put his hands on Slater in an offside position as he took the quick tap in the 40-14 loss.

    “Billy Slater is a legend of our game. He’s a competitor and he does anything to win,” Fitzgibbon said.

    “The rules are rules. Outside the 10 players are allowed a quick tap and I put a hand on Slater.

    “If that’s what the refs are calling and are going to play by then I’m fine with it.”

    However Sterling wasn’t so lenient, labelling it “embarrassing” for the two-time Clive Churchill Medal winner.

    It prompted Kaufusi to come to the 34-year-old’s defence at Storm training on Monday.

    “I’m sure Billy doesn’t do that on purpose … given the circumstances of the game it might have looked worse than it was,” Kaufusi said.

    “Billy’s a great player. He’s got the best interests of the game (at heart).

    “He doesn’t want to be doing anything cheap like that, so I’m not sure what you put (that criticism) down to.”

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    The Crowd Says (53)

    • Roar Guru

      April 17th 2018 @ 7:22am
      The Barry said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:22am | ! Report

      Good response from Fitzgibbon, shows respect and accepts accountability. A lot to like about him on and now off the field.

      Why Billy? I’ve never been caught up in the ‘Slater is a grub’ movement. I love watching him play and he’s always seemed a great bloke. But this is ugly and at this stage of his career and with his standing in the game it’s unnecessary. He risks leaving his detractors a bit more ammo to shoot him down.

      He’s not the only one but to have a couple of really obvious ones back to back is not a good look.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 7:42am
        Peter Phelps said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        I think the operative words are “Billy is a great competitor” and it is because of that that he pushes the envelope sometimes. I am convinced that there is absolutely no intention to cheat, dive or harm in any of his actions it is just over enthusiasm and an incredible drive to win. You just have to spend a little time watching him on the field, the guy is jumping out of his skin at times to get at the ball or make the next tackle. At 20 you would say he was full of beans at 35 he is just incredible but a cheat or dirty player he isn’t.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 7:55am
        Con Scortis said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        Hi TB!

        I like Billy overall and I understand he does good things outside the game, plus he’s without doubt the best fullback I have ever seen. So I don’t necessarily think he’s a grub (which is an overused word anyway). But I do agree with Sterlo that it’s an embarrassing look, especially for a great player like Billy who really doesn’t need to to it.

        Why does Billy get all the criticism? I think for three reasons. Firstly, he’s extremely high profile and is always one of the most analysed players on the field. So when he does something like this, it will naturally engender more talk than a lesser known player.

        Secondly, in the past he has (unfortunately) been in the headlines over other acts, like sliding into players with his feet (in goal) and kicking out with his feet when he’s jumping up for a bomb. He hasn’t done those things in years, but I recall the headlines and photos. I’m not arguing that he was guilty as charged, but rightly or wrongly he has developed a bit of a reputation for less than ideal acts.

        Finally, he does seem like a genuinely good bloke, so this doesn’t really align with this reputation (unlike guys like Michael Ennis).

        I agree this is ugly and unfortunate, especially at this time in his career. But ultimately if he stopped it we wouldn’t be talking about it.

        • April 17th 2018 @ 8:22am
          Peter Phelps said | April 17th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

          I agree with all of that and I think all of those things that you point out Billy did in trying to save the try or catch the ball or whatever. That was his focus and until these things were pocked up and pointed out to him as being dangerous or not something he should do he genuinely thought they were ok.

          Go and ask your grandfather about when he was a kid, whether it was thought to be ok to “bully someone” or to “call people names” because of skin colour or sexual orientation. Ask him whether it was accepted for teachers to hit children to discipline them. Until these things are highlighted as wrong then people do them in all innocence. I think that to a large extent (I don’t think he is any angel so not 100%), Billy believes and acts in a similar fashion.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 9:26am
            Roberto said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            ‘Innocently’ racially vilifying coloured minorities…yeah I get it, it’s like innocently torturing a cat, NOT.

            Billy is a grub footballer, always has been.

          • April 17th 2018 @ 9:29pm
            MuthaPhukkaJones said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

            But as a result of the Teachers not being allowed to discipline Children , the reverse which is teachers being regularly assaulted is a far better result .

        • April 17th 2018 @ 10:01am
          Albo said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          “Why does Billy get all the criticism?”

          Con, whilst you have outlined many of the reasons why Slater attracts criticism, you left out the main reason, in that he is another of the games’ “protected species” , and has been allowed to get away with all these grubby and often dangerous acts for years. I might add just one more observation ….. how many NRL players has James Graham felt the need to bite on the field ?

          • April 17th 2018 @ 10:09am
            kk said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            Albo, Love your sense of humour.

            • Roar Guru

              April 17th 2018 @ 10:37am
              Con Scortis said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              Fair point Albo – Billy even looks like a koala. I always thought Billy intentionally thrust his ear into Graham’s mouth.

              • April 17th 2018 @ 6:59pm
                Jed Clampit said | April 17th 2018 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                Billy is just misunderstood.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 17th 2018 @ 10:32am
          steveng said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

          Firstly, I agree with ‘Albo’ and that is one of the reasons but not all! Secondly ‘Con’ your 3 reasons why, vindicates Billy Slater that he is a ‘Grub’! Unfortunately, the bloke will go to any length to achieve his competitiveness and to win and he knows that he can get away with it but, the funny thing is, that he doesn’t have to do it! Must be a Qld thing, that has been nurtured over the years. lol Yes, he’s a great player but, how many great players (in his callable) have gone to his and this length to achieve their greatness? My advice to Billy is, play your style of footy and forget about the grubbiness that you have/are employing otherwise, the twilight of your career will tarnish the greatness of your overall skills and contribution to the NRL. I don’t like Slater’s style, yes you can be competitive but, adopting a grubby style and continuing these tactics are detrimental to the game and most certainly to his extremely high profile!

          • Roar Guru

            April 17th 2018 @ 10:44am
            Con Scortis said | April 17th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            I actually agree with that point Steven G / Steve Ng.

            I was thinking yesterday about players I grew up watching, like Wayne Pearce, Bradley Clyde, Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Phil Blake etc. Those guys are legends of the game but more to your point, I honestly can’t think of a single negative thing about them (either on or off the field). The way they conducted themselves is the way Billy should conduct himself.

            Instead, in 10+ years’ time when people think of Billy, they’ll recall him as an all-time great who often did some idiotic stuff on the field. That’s a shame, but like I said above, it’s no-one else’s fault apart from Billy. Whether or not that makes him a grub depends on your point of view.

          • Roar Guru

            April 17th 2018 @ 12:33pm
            The Barry said | April 17th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

            Does Slater get away with it?

            He copped a lengthy suspension early on for lashing out with his boot. He was warned in no uncertain terms about sliding in boots first and putting the leg out when taking bombs. Now he’s been called out for diving in an era where Greg Louganis might go unnoticed.

            I don’t think he’s gotten away with too much…

            • April 17th 2018 @ 1:26pm
              soapit said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

              took a while for him to get those warnings tho barry and ultimately no real punishment

            • April 17th 2018 @ 1:39pm
              Jeffrey Dun said | April 17th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

              “He copped a lengthy suspension early on for lashing out with his boot.”

              He stomped on John Skandalis’ face and got a 7 week suspension. I thought at the time it was one of the lowest things I have seen on a football field.

              He has done nothing as dirty since and, over the years, he has redeemed himself in my eyes. One of the best I have seen.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 2:56pm
        Greg said | April 17th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

        Slater is arguably the best fullback in the history of Rugby League. He is without doubt the dirtiest fullback in the history of Rugby League. He has been found guilty or pleaded guilty at the judiciary a massive 8 times in his career for various acts such as a head slam, kicking, dangerous throw, striking, contrary conduct, dangerous contact x 2, and careless high tackle. No other fullback even comes close to that record.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 7:26am
      uglykiwi said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      I love watching Billy play; hes a genius…. but why does he need to do this.
      Its simply a dive and I would have said not long ago its un-Australian…. but looking at your cricketers, there seems to the motto of winning at ALL COSTS.
      You Aussies need to have a hard look at yourselves and decide if winning is everything.
      Where is the play FAIR motto gone; let the best team win etc….. NOT who is the best at cheating!!

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 7:53am
        The Barry said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        *cough cough* Chris Cairns *cough*

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2018 @ 7:57am
          Con Scortis said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

          cough cough Richie McCaw cough cough

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2018 @ 9:58am
        Nat said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Chalk and cheese those two. Slater’s is unnecessary and a bad look but touching him is illegal. Look what happened to Smith and Warner, Aussies don’t shy away from out -n- out cheating.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 7:59am
      uglykiwi said | April 17th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      hahah; he never once dived!!

    • April 17th 2018 @ 9:07am
      uglykiwi said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

      Poor ol Chris Cairns…. all I will say is that he was never found guilty……………. We only talk about his dad.

      • April 17th 2018 @ 9:18am
        Paul said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        What’s Lou Vincent doing these days?

    • Roar Rookie

      April 17th 2018 @ 9:13am
      Dogs Boddy said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      The best karate kicking, stud sliding, knee sliding diver in the competition. He does it all with a smile and a wink and everyone says “that’s Billy, what a great bloke”.

      Seriously it’s not just him doing it, but he seems to be the most successful / professional at it. Some blokes hit the deck and start flailing around like an upturned turtle when they try and milk penalties. It’s certainly something that needs to be looked at.

    • April 17th 2018 @ 9:14am
      Paul said | April 17th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      The part I don’t understand is why Slater feels the need to do this? Surely if his sides playing its usual brand of confident, winning football, this type of action isn’t necessary.

      Maybe it’s a sign of the times in Melbourne. In any event, it’s yet another issue tarnishing the reputation of a player seen by some as a legend.

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