Tyson Frizell has questioned the lack of common sense in the NRL judiciary process after he was outed for one-match for making contact with a referee at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday.
Frizell unsuccessfully fought a grade one contrary conduct for touching referee Chris James in St George Illawarra’s loss to Canterbury on Friday.
The judiciary panel of Chris McKenna, Mal Cochrane and Sean Garlick took just five minutes to reach their verdict after a hearing that lasted half an hour.
It was one NSW backrower Frizell had trouble understanding.
“Common sense needs to come in there,” he said.
“There was no malice at all, or going in to make aggressive contact towards the referee. It was purely accidental.
“I’m pretty disappointed with what’s happened.
“Something we tried to put forward was that it was an accident.
“I guess they see it as black and white, and say contact with the referee will give you a week on the sideline.”
The decision came after the NRL moved to clarify the rule last week, saying that careless contact would be penalised.
Frizell’s suspension was met with derision by a number of NRL figures.
“RIP Rugby League” tweeted Queensland and Manly prop Nate Myles.
Penrith supremo Phil Gould wrote on Twitter: “Honestly, you’ve had your fun. Is there any chance we can have our game back now please? Before it’s too late!!”
Gold Coast rake Nathan Peats wrote: “Poor Tyson Frizell.”
Frizell’s defence counsel Nick Ghabar argued that his client did not initiate contact with James.
“The referee made the initial contact with player Frizell,” he said.
“The reflex nature of (Frizell’s) action was accidental.
“Neither person appreciated how close they were in proximity to each other.
“It was a slight tap or a brush against the referee. He gently or politely touched him after he was confronted with the referee blocking his path.”
Judiciary prosecutor Peter McGrath argued the contact Frizell made in the fourth minute of the round 21 encounter won by the Bulldogs was “neither incidental or accidental”.
“He had that special duty all players do to avoid contact with the referee, and he had plenty of time to do that,” McGrath said.
“The contact was avoidable and unnecessary.”
Frizell will return for the Dragons’ round 23 match against arch-rivals Cronulla at Kogarah Oval on Saturday week.