Paul Gallen is siding with the NRL match review committee’s decision to sanction Canberra’s Jack Wighton for a shoulder charge sanction.
But he admits thinking his Cronulla teammate Michael Ennis would face a similar fate.
Wighton will need to beat his grade-two charge at a judiciary hearing on Tuesday night if he is to play against the Gallen-led Cronulla in Saturday’s qualifying final.
“They go on about you need to have some sort of duty of care to our opposition player,” Gallen told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.
“Jack Wighton absolutely charged into him with a shoulder charge and knocked the bloke out.
“There’s not a lot of duty of care taken there.”
Wighton will head to the judiciary with two prior offences in the past two years, including one for touching a referee in round 13 this year.
It means that even if he is found guilty but successfully downgrades the charge, he will still spend two matches on the sideline for the hit on the Wests Tigers’ Joel Edwards.
If he can’t beat the charge, Wighton will miss four games and his season will be over.
Wighton’s citing came after Ennis escaped sanction for a hit Melbourne’s Blake Green – a decision which had many questioning the consistency of the match review committee.
The NRL issued a statement comparing the incidents, saying separation between Ennis’ arm and body saved him from being cited for a shoulder charge.
While Gallen agreed with that view and the decision not to cite him, he held fears his teammate would risk missing finals action.
“I thought he would get charged for it,” Gallen said.
“The way it is these days I thought he might of.”
Ennis also has two prior similar offences relating to high tackle charges from last year, meaning even if he was cited and pleaded guilty to a grade-one charge he would still have missed two matches.
If Wighton can’t beat his charge, Gallen believes Zac Santo will be brought into Canberra’s side at fullback with Ricky Stuart unlikely to split up the in-form centre-wing combination of Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana.