Matai suspension leaves Toovey perplexed

Manly coach Geoff Toovey wants NRL players to band together and pressure the ARLC into overhauling the judiciary system.

Toovey remained bemused that he would be without strike centre Steve Matai for Friday’s elimination semi-final against North Queensland after the defending premiers reluctantly accepted an early guilty plea for a grade two careless high tackle.

That decision ruled Matai out of the Cowboys clash, but had the Sea Eagles contested the charge at the judiciary he would’ve risked a two-match ban.

The ruling again led Toovey to call for a revamp of the process which leads to players being charged.

Under the current system, there are 15 levels of grading for a high tackle alone, which fall under careless, reckless and intentional. That, however, does not take into account the more dangerous tackles which can be categorised as “striking”.

It has left Toovey bewildered and he says the best way for change to happen is for the players themselves to take action.

“I’m a bit perplexed by the charge and how it worked,” Toovey said on Tuesday.

“It’s another issue we need to address. Well, the players do at least … the players association.

“I think (the players) are talking about it.

“I brought it up at the beginning of the year and throughout the year as well. But it’s up to them I think to bring it up and sort it out.”

Matai was charged by the match review committee for his 19th minute hit on Canterbury’s Sam Perrett, which carries a base penalty of 125 points.

Manly co-captain Jason King took the early plea on his grade one careless high tackle, making him free to face the Cowboys.

Melbourne pair Kevin Proctor and Siosaia Vave also escaped suspensions by accepting the early plea and will be free to play the Storm’s week three finals opponents, the Sea Eagles or Cowboys.

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