Infotainment Factory: 'It's going to be deemed a shoulder charge'

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Friday, 21 September 2018

'It's going to be deemed a shoulder charge'


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Rugby league legends Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston expect Billy Slater's career to be ended by suspension after the champion fullback put a fairytale grand final farewell at risk with a last ditched defensive act that could be deemed a shoulder charge.

Both Johns and Thurston applauded Slater's selflessness for putting his body on the line to stop Sosaia Feki from scoring but the cost could be massive, with Slater set to be the biggest name to miss a grand final through suspension since his superstar teammate Cameron Smith was banned from the 2008 grand final.

In a rotten omen for Melbourne fans, that grand final finished in a disastrous 40-0 loss as Manly romped to the biggest victory in a modern decider.

However, with the game still on a knife's edge with his side up 2-0 in the 13th minute, Slater's defensive work on Feki set the Melbourne juggernaut on course for victory with his trademark act of desperation.

Analysing the controversial incident at half-time of Nine's coverage of the first preliminary final, Johns was adamant the defensive play was a shoulder charge while making it clear he wished it could be interpreted differently.

"Well it's desperation, this is what every teammate wants, it's what every coach wants, put your body on the line and stop your opposition scoring a try," Johns said.

"But now the rules say you can't shoulder charge. If you're going by the letter of the law, that's a shoulder charge."

That assertion was backed up by Slater's long-time Queensland and Australia teammate Thurston.

"It is a shoulder charge as much as I hate to say it, but like you said, he's bracing for contact, what else can you do? Every coach wants you to show that kind of desperation," Thurston said.

If the NRL's match review committee see the incident the same way as Johns and Thurston, Slater is likely to be hit with a charge that attracts 200 demerit points.

Slater cited for shoulder charge

Even with a clean record and an early guilty plea, that charge would cost Slater one game - the one potential game he has left in his decorated career.

It's a possibility that seemed to dawn on the champion as he sat sunken in his chair at half-time, despite helping his side to a commanding 20-0 lead at the break.

If Slater is hit with a charge it will likely result in one of the most high profile and high stakes judiciary hearings of all-time in the middle of grand final week.

It's a prospect that left a sour taste in the mouth of Johns.

"Your coach wants you to do everything you can do, put your body on the line, to stop the try, he does that," Slater said.

"That's the way every player is coached, that's the way you've learnt to play since you were a kid.

"Unfortunately, it's going to be deemed as a shoulder charge, which I don't agree with, everyone else doesn't agree with, but they're the rules now."

Rugby league legends Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston expect Billy Slater's career to be ended by suspension after the champion fullback put a fairytale grand final farewell at risk with a last ditched defensive act that could be deemed a shoulder charge.

Both Johns and Thurston applauded Slater's selflessness for putting his body on the line to stop Sosaia Feki from scoring but the cost could be massive, with Slater set to be the biggest name to miss a grand final through suspension since his superstar teammate Cameron Smith was banned from the 2008 grand final.

In a rotten omen for Melbourne fans, that grand final finished in a disastrous 40-0 loss as Manly romped to the biggest victory in a modern decider.

However, with the game still on a knife's edge with his side up 2-0 in the 13th minute, Slater's defensive work on Feki set the Melbourne juggernaut on course for victory with his trademark act of desperation.

Analysing the controversial incident at half-time of Nine's coverage of the first preliminary final, Johns was adamant the defensive play was a shoulder charge while making it clear he wished it could be interpreted differently.

"Well it's desperation, this is what every teammate wants, it's what every coach wants, put your body on the line and stop your opposition scoring a try," Johns said.

"But now the rules say you can't shoulder charge. If you're going by the letter of the law, that's a shoulder charge."

That assertion was backed up by Slater's long-time Queensland and Australia teammate Thurston.

"It is a shoulder charge as much as I hate to say it, but like you said, he's bracing for contact, what else can you do? Every coach wants you to show that kind of desperation," Thurston said.

If the NRL's match review committee see the incident the same way as Johns and Thurston, Slater is likely to be hit with a charge that attracts 200 demerit points.

Slater cited for shoulder charge

Even with a clean record and an early guilty plea, that charge would cost Slater one game - the one potential game he has left in his decorated career.

It's a possibility that seemed to dawn on the champion as he sat sunken in his chair at half-time, despite helping his side to a commanding 20-0 lead at the break.

If Slater is hit with a charge it will likely result in one of the most high profile and high stakes judiciary hearings of all-time in the middle of grand final week.

It's a prospect that left a sour taste in the mouth of Johns.

"Your coach wants you to do everything you can do, put your body on the line, to stop the try, he does that," Slater said.

"That's the way every player is coached, that's the way you've learnt to play since you were a kid.

"Unfortunately, it's going to be deemed as a shoulder charge, which I don't agree with, everyone else doesn't agree with, but they're the rules now."

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