Foran charged over referee contact

Kieran Foran is the latest player to earn the ire of the NRL match review committee for making contact with a referee.

Parramatta skipper Foran was hit with a grade one contrary conduct charge on Monday afternoon for touching referee Matt Cecchin on the back during the Eels 20-6 win over Canterbury on Friday.

Like Brisbane centre James Roberts last week, Foran can escape a ban if he takes the early guilty plea and be available for the Easter Monday match with Wests Tigers.

The charge against Foran comes after Bulldogs firebrand David Klemmer was exonerated at the judiciary last week, after referee Ben Cummins gave evidence in his favour.

Over the course of the three rounds of the NRL season so far, Trent Merrin, Corey Norman, Ethan Lowe, Jamie Soward, Andrew Fifita and Mitchell Moses have made contact with the onfield officials but have escaped censure.

Last week, after Klemmer’s visit to the judiciary, but prior to his rise to NRL CEO, then-NRL head of football Todd Greenberg moved to clarify the confusion about players making contact with the referee.

“The system is based on the match review committee laying charges based on video evidence before the independent judiciary hears the player’s evidence and any mitigating circumstances,” Greenberg said.

“Despite Wednesday night’s decision, the match review committee will continue to take a strong stance in relation to avoidable contact with match officials by players.

“This is not only an important message for NRL players, but for players at all levels of the game – that avoidable contact with referees will not be tolerated.”

Foran was one of seven players charged from round three.

Newcastle’s Sione Mata’utia (dangerous throw), Penrith’s Jeremy Latimore (dangerous contact), Wests Tigers back-rower Chris Lawrence (dangerous throw) and South Sydney utility Paul Carter (dangerous contact) will all spend a week on the sidelines if they take the early guilty plea.

Panthers forward Sam McKendry (high tackle), and Rabbitohs three-quarter Kirisome Auva’a (dangerous contact) can avoid a week’s suspension if they take early pleas.

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