Sam Burgess is in big trouble. He’s really done it now.
For those of you who missed it, Tevita Pangai Junior was slapped with a five-week suspension on Tuesday evening as a consequence of his crusher tackle on James Maloney in the final stages of Brisbane’s 24-12 victory over the Panthers.
There have been several cases this year leaving fans and players dumbfounded at the verdict dished out by the judiciary. James Graham even stated on NRL360 that “it seems like going to the judiciary is a bit of a lottery this year.”
Graham also said, “It seems excessive; I know there’s loading and stuff, but five weeks for that? It seems a bit over the top.”
It was an ugly tackle that was unnecessary, especially considering the game had been won already at that stage, but to be handed a suspension that will likely end his involvement in the remainder of the Broncos season is overkill, especially considering Melbourne prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona was charged for a similar incident a couple of weeks ago where he was cited for dangerous contact to the neck/head of Broncos forward Patrick Carrigan.
But he was free to play against the Rabbitohs in Round 21 after an early guilty plea.
Tevita Pangai Junior gets suspended for five weeks whereas Asofa-Solomona was free to play the following week.
You may recall earlier in the year there was a series of incidents in what can only be described as “spear tackles” to which we saw three very similar incidents and the judiciary handed out three very different punishments.
Nick Cotric was sent off during the match and suspended for three weeks with the early guilty plea, Issac Luke was faced with a two-week suspension but fought the charge and lost, ultimately leading to a three-week suspension and Jake Trbojevic, who basically dumped Jahrome Hughes on his head in what was very reminiscent of, if not worse than, the prior two tackles, gets off scot-free.
Then, of course, we have serial offender Josh McGuire given three chances of blatant eye-gouging before seeing a suspension whereas Canberra forward Hudson Young copped five weeks with an early guilty plea for his first offence. You would think McGuire would have learned, counted his lucky stars and quit using his grubby tactics, but alas a leopard doesn’t change their stripes and eventually, they got him after multiple infringements.
But why did it take so long? How did the match review committee deem his offences only minor and issuing fines when they were very similar to Young’s and he copped five weeks?
Fans and players are left scratching their heads wondering how on earth did the judiciary and the match review committee reach that conclusion over many of the infringements that have happened during this NRL season. Only one thing can be said for certain and that is the judicial system in the NRL is so unpredictable that the only consistency in this process is the inconsistency.