The Daily Telegraph’s Buzz Rothfield believes the NRL’s lack of penalty for incidents like Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s ugly elbow on young gun Joseph Sua’ali’i could leave the organisation open to “litigation on a grand scale”.
The Storm enforcer dropped his elbow down on the 19-year-old’s chin and was hit with a “pathetic” $3,000 fine if the front rower takes the early guilty plea following the Roosters crucial 18-14 victory.
The NRL has implemented a wave of new measures to kerb the impact of head injuries on players, but former Sharks, Panthers and Maroons prop Martin Lang believes the competition isn’t doing enough.
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Lang, who is currently conducting research into brain injuries as a result of contact sport, believes in the future the NRL could face legal action for failing to protect players.
“The NRL I think, and I spoke to Martin Lang yesterday, who is a really intelligent fellow who has studied neuroscience and is conducting research into brain injuries from contact sport,” Rothfield said on the Big Sports Breakfast
Rothfield explained Asofa-Solomona has a long rap sheet which includes 10 charges in the last three years — and the “repeat offenders” are still getting away with their actions.
“He raised a really interesting point that the fact that players like Nelson Asofa-Solomona are repeat offenders, have been found guilty of foul play ten times in the last three years, but keeps getting away with fines,” Rothfield said.
“Lang is of the opinion that there will be litigation on a grand scale, that it is a legal time bomb, further down the track a good lawyer will get hold of a player who is suffering from the after effects of concussion and point out there was not a duty of care while he was playing football.
“That players were continually allowed to get away with this sort of play, I don’t want to be an alarmist but all the statistics are there, this guy, Asofa-Solomona, was fined $3,000 for the disgraceful shot on Suaalii, he was on the ground.
“There was another incident in the game he escaped, he kneed Joey Manu in the head in a tackle.”
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Meanwhile, Storm superstar Cameron Munster also escaped sanction after appearing to elbow Sam Walker in a tackle — with four other players receiving charges.
According to rugby league reporter Brent Read Munster was hit with a “concerning act notice” for the moment.
“Cameron Munster has been issued with a concerning act notice for an elbow on Sammy Walker, so that’s a bit of a worry for Cam Munster,” Read said on Triple M.
These “blatant acts of foul play” could see the NRL levelled with a lawsuit according to Rothfield, who has called for the “crap” to stop.
“Can someone please explain why he got a warning letter for a clear elbow to the head of Sam Walker,” Rothfield said.
“I agree with Martin Lang, that down the track, I am not saying it is going to happen in the next year or two years, but down the track the NRL is leaving itself open to legal action.
“I used to cover judiciary every week, and I can assure you if any player walked in with the wrap-sheet Asofa-Solomona has, for the tackle he did on Suaalii… he would be facing multiple weeks on the sidelines, not a pathetic $3,000 fine.
“These are blatant acts of foul play… it is unacceptable for this crap on a football field, there is no place in rugby league for what we saw on the field.”
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