The hysteria that has been unleashed after vision showed Canberra Raiders forward Hudson Young had hands on the face of Warriors outside back Adam Pompey has been as outrageous as it has been an indictment on the people and commentators who have whipped it up.
Some in the media have all but called for the Maitland-born 21-year-old to be thrown out of the game.
Yes, I am a Raiders supporter. While I agree that it was not a great look that Young had his hand on Pompey’s face, the incident just didn’t appear anywhere near as severe as many are making it out to be.
Commentating the game, ex-Storm player Brett Finch went berserk.
Andrew Johns called for a 20-week ban – or even being put out for the entire season. Seriously? A whole season? (Though, in fairness to Johns, his harsh stance on gouging has been very consistent, regardless of the players involved).
Reni Matua chimed in to say that in his day Young would have left the field in a body bag. Thanks for your input Reni.
Now, let’s all just put down our torches and pitchforks for a second, take a few deep breaths and try to look at the situation rationally.
Let’s take a moment to view the sort of offences that get the sort of very lengthy bans that Immortal Andrew Johns is advocating.
Here is Danny Williams hitting Mark O’Neill in 2004.
Williams got 18 weeks for that.
Now look at John Hopoate smashing Keith Galloway with a forearm to the head. He got 17 weeks for that. The father of Bulldogs player Will also got 12 weeks for sticking his finger into the anus of opposition players.
How about Les Boyd smashing Darryl Brohman’s jaw back in 1983? Jim Comans gave Boyd 12 months for that act of blatant thuggery.
Against that backdrop, how anyone could be calling for 20-week bans or for Hudson Young to be rubbed out of the game for the Pompey incident beggars belief.
The cry of “repeat offender” is being used to justify these hysterical calls.
George Burgess was also a repeat offender. Compare his effort on Robbie Farah to Hudson Young’s hands on the face of Pompey. Burgess got eight weeks for that repeat offence.
Not 20 weeks. Not a season. Eight weeks. He’s playing this Friday night in fact.
Should we expect a mob protesting outside the SCG trying to block George from entering the ground?
While you can see Burgess’ fingers going into Farah’s sockets for a good old feel around, that is not clearly evident at all in the Hudson Young incident.
Further, the Warriors player who is the supposed victim of Young doesn’t seem to know what the fuss is about, as he made clear in his social media exchange with Young.
“Nah you’re sweet brah,” Pompey said in response to Young. “I honestly don’t think anything is wrong with that bala. I didn’t feel anything and I didn’t know you even poked me in the eye.”
The NRL was happy to let Cameron Munster make the call on whether Josh McGuire had any charge to face or not. Why does that not apply in this instance?
Further, back in June NRL Head of Football Graham Annesley was keen to differentiate McGuire’s hands in Dylan Walker’s face from Hudson Young’s on Aidan Tolman. “There is a significant difference between a facial, for want of a better term, and poking around in the eyes of the opponent or what we traditionally call eye gouging.”
When I looked at McGuire’s efforts on Munster or Dylan Walker I see little to no difference to what Hudson Young did. Graham Annesley called McGuire’s actions a facial, not a gouge.
However, with the mob baying for blood the Michael Buettner-led match review committee – the very same one that failed to even charge Josh McGuire on multiple occasions (until after the Origin period) and declared that Nic Cotric should be heavily charged for a spear tackle while Jake Trbojevic shouldn’t be for a virtually identical effort – referred Young straight to the judiciary.
No doubt Young will be wheeled in strapped to a trolley jack, in a strait jacket and wearing a hockey mask too – a la Hannibal Lecter.
The almighty news cycle needs sensation. It craves villains. It demands sacrificial lambs. And if we allow it to, it will take them.
Am I wrong to want to use a scene from the Simpsons to mock people?
While I am no fan of hands in the faces of opposition players, this action has been whipped out of all proportion. I really hope that the judiciary bring calm and common sense to this matter.
Not just for the sake of Hudson Young but for the sake of the game. We really need cool heads and consistency brought back into the running of the NRL.