Should Broncos skipper Justin Hodges have missed this weekend’s grand final after that grade 1 dangerous throw charge on Aiden Guerra?
If the NRL was consistent then yes of course he should have missed a game. Would that punishment have been fair though? No way was that indiscretion worthy of missing a grand final. In a way the judiciary got the right outcome but try telling Steve Roach or Issac Luke that – those guys missed grand finals in a similar way Hodges could have.
The time has come for the NRL to make all grade one charges result in monetary fines as a means of punishment. If referees made better use of the sin bin and send players off for serious indiscretions, fine-only punishments for technical infringements are much fairer. It wouldn’t matter then what game was next up – Origin, test match, grand final or regular season game – they all carry the same weight and a minor offense won’t see players miss big games.
Suspensions should start with grade two charges and could be complemented by fines as well to further reduce the amount of time leading players are ousted for.
While we don’t want to go soft on foul play, the game also cannot afford to have leading players sitting out big games for minor or technical errors. The financial penalty will act as an incentive not to commit fouls anyway.