Infotainment Factory: How Slater case will define NRL's future

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Sunday, 23 September 2018

How Slater case will define NRL's future


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Since Friday night, when Billy Slater drove Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki into touch and out of the Grand Final, the league world has been divided about what should happen next.

One view strongly held by many is the collision was an illegal shoulder charge and Slater should be banned from the premiership decider, regardless of the sentiment and storylines around ending his great career.

It’s true Billy’s farewell should not be a mitigating factor.

JUDICIARY: Freddy urges NRL to uphold Slater ban

But he should DEFINITELY be allowed to play this weekend.

In the hundreds of replays we’ve seen of that moment, Slater races across in cover and in a powerful demonstration of vector forces, the small mass violently changes the direction of the large mass.

It’s a very effective tackle, with not enough left arm in it to satisfy the shoulder charge rule.

But this is not a premeditated, front-on, neck-snapping battering ram movement calculated to hurt. For a start, Slater’s initial contact is made with his lower body.

Tomorrow night’s judiciary decision will provide real insight to the NRL’s modern day stance on body contact. There is enough doubt about whether the tackle IS a shoulder charge for Slater’s lawyer to clear a road to Sunday’s big game.

Fittler says NRL must uphold Slater ban

Will the judiciary take that path? Is heavy contact, even with its physical risk, still rewarded in rugby league?

Attitudes vary from code to code.

In soccer, Slater gets an instant red card. In AFL, he gets a roar from the crowd and "play on!"

What does he get in NRL? We find out tomorrow night.

Since Friday night, when Billy Slater drove Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki into touch and out of the Grand Final, the league world has been divided about what should happen next.

One view strongly held by many is the collision was an illegal shoulder charge and Slater should be banned from the premiership decider, regardless of the sentiment and storylines around ending his great career.

It’s true Billy’s farewell should not be a mitigating factor.

JUDICIARY: Freddy urges NRL to uphold Slater ban

But he should DEFINITELY be allowed to play this weekend.

In the hundreds of replays we’ve seen of that moment, Slater races across in cover and in a powerful demonstration of vector forces, the small mass violently changes the direction of the large mass.

It’s a very effective tackle, with not enough left arm in it to satisfy the shoulder charge rule.

But this is not a premeditated, front-on, neck-snapping battering ram movement calculated to hurt. For a start, Slater’s initial contact is made with his lower body.

Tomorrow night’s judiciary decision will provide real insight to the NRL’s modern day stance on body contact. There is enough doubt about whether the tackle IS a shoulder charge for Slater’s lawyer to clear a road to Sunday’s big game.

Fittler says NRL must uphold Slater ban

Will the judiciary take that path? Is heavy contact, even with its physical risk, still rewarded in rugby league?

Attitudes vary from code to code.

In soccer, Slater gets an instant red card. In AFL, he gets a roar from the crowd and "play on!"

What does he get in NRL? We find out tomorrow night.

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