Bird joins calls for NRL judiciary change

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Bird joins calls for NRL judiciary change

Greg Bird has joined Laurie Daley and Shane Flanagan in calling for an overhaul of the NRL judiciary system after the decision to rub Wade Graham out of State of Origin II.

Bird, who missed the entire 2015 State of Origin series due to a high-tackle suspension after a Test against New Zealand, supported the idea of a different points system applying when finals or representative matches could be missed.

“I think that should be the case. Issac Luke missed a grand final,” Bird said on Thursday.

“You can’t compare a round-13 match with a grand final or a State of Origin for that matter. They’re different levels. Two hundred points, 300 points (instead of 100 missing a match) would be a good concept, I’d think.”

The Gold Coast forward was confident the governing body would come to the table.

“I know it has been on the agenda for a few years now, people discussing that exact situation,” he said.

“And I’m sure they’ll come up with something in the near future to make sure little grade-one offences like Wado just copped doesn’t miss out a $30,000 pay cheque and an opportunity to represent his state, which are both pretty big things.”

Cronulla back-rower Graham copped a one-week ban and will miss Origin II after being found guilty at the judiciary on Wednesday night of a grade-one careless high tackle on Johnathan Thurston.

NSW coach Daley and Cronulla mentor Flanagan said it was unfair that Graham would miss his Origin debut due to a minor offence.

“I think the rules certainly need to be looked at and debated,” Daley said.

“There’ll be some people that think that the rules should stay and I’m not just saying this now, because I’ve spoken about this before. I think that we do need to look at minor offences and whether people miss big games. Grand finals and Origins, they don’t happen all the time.”

Flanagan, who attended the judiciary meeting with Sharks chief executive Lyall Gorman, concurred.

“This highlights the anomalies in our game,” Flanagan said.

“To miss an Origin for 100 points, we need to think about it.

“We have brought it up at coaches’ meetings and we need to bring it up again.

“I am not disappointed about the judiciary proceedings, but it’s just disappointing he will miss Origin.”

Flanagan said he was personally shattered for Graham after seeing the 25-year-old overcome all obstacles, including a WADA suspension and major injuries, to finally earn a call-up after several years as a NSW shadow player.

Queensland star Cooper Cronk sympathised with Graham but said “rules are rules”.

“I know there has been a bit of talk that the rules need to be changed but, if you step over the line, there is a good system in place to take care of that,” he said.

“He would be feeling pretty distressed, it is unfortunate for him but there is not much sentiment in rugby league.”

Other coaches, including Canberra’s Ricky Stuart, have suggested fines be levelled at players guilty of lower-level offences rather than suspensions.

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