Pundits slam ‘all over the shop’ NRL match review committee LOTTO as Melbourne Storm stars escape suspension for ugly incidents
- The Storm snapped a four-game losing streak against the New Zealand Warriors
- It looked like they might lose two players to suspension for ugly incidents
- However the NRL’s match review committee did not charge either of the players
- That has angered pundits and fans who believe they should have copped bans
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy should buy himself a lotto ticket this weekend after two of his star players miraculously escaped charge from the NRL for their actions against the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night.
The Storm snapped a four-match losing streak in an unconvincing 24-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park, but the win was marred by two ugly incidents.
Asofa-Solomona drove his left forearm into the head of Warriors hooker Wayde Egan while he and two other Storm players dumped the hooker into the turf.
Josh King’s right hand was also seen around Jazz Tevaga’s eye region in a tackle by the prop.
However neither of their names appeared on the NRL’s match review committee charge sheet, despite two players being charged for similar incidents just this week.
Bulldogs forward Corey Waddell was handed a five-match ban following his eye-gouging incident with Gold Coast captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was only fined $3000 after driving his arm into the face of Manly debutant Zac Fulton on Thursday, working him over and leaving him bloodied.
Rubbing salt into the wounds, the one charge that did come out of the match was on fringe Warriors’ forward Jackson Frei.
He has been hit with a grade 1 dangerous contact charge for a late shot on Harry Grant and can either accept a $1000 fine or a one-match ban for the late shot.
Asofa-Solomona drives his arm into Wayde Egan’s face (above) forcing Egan from the field
Fox Sports analyst and former Queensland and Australian enforcer Gordon Tallis said the Asofa-Solomona hit was worse than Warea-Hargreaves’ – yet there was no action taken.
‘If you watched last night, and we are talking about Jared Waerea-Hargreaves with his elbow, I think this has a little bit more force in it,’ Tallis said.
‘I think this is a little bit more deliberate. They are both deliberate, but I just don’t like this one.
‘If I was referee, he has got to spend time in the sin bin, absolutely.
‘Jamming him into the ground. He knew exactly where he was. When you look at a situation where he knows where the player’s head is and I think that he knows.’
Fellow Fox Sports commentator Greg Alexander was shocked that Asofa-Solomona wasn’t sin-binned at the very least.
‘He contacted with force, that’s why players go to the bin,’ Alexander said.
‘If Waerea-Hargreaves was charged with grade one contact and he just had his elbow there and pushed down.
‘Nelson has come from a height and come down on the head of Wayde Egan. That has got to be a grade three dangerous contact.
‘That could have quite easily broken his jaw and I thought that when he walked off.’
Fans agreed, with one tweeting: ‘NRL have put themselves in a s*** position by now suspending JWH, as they’ve set a precedent for this to somehow be only fine worth. Sin bin at minimum, possible send off.’
‘The problem with just fining guys for dropping elbows into people’s heads is other players watch and think it’s free game. This is very, very dirty,’ Tweeted another.
The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Carayannis tweeted: ‘Match review committee all over the shop. Waddell five weeks but nothing for Josh King. JWH low grade charge for elbowing with intent. Nothing for Nelson Asofa-Solomona’.
Fellow journalist David Riccio added: ‘Welcome to another edition of NRL lotto, @storm Nelson Asofa-Solomona has avoided being charged for driving his forearm into @NZWarriors Wayde Egan’s jaw.’