Infotainment Factory: 'Protected species': Fans fume of Slater ruling

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

'Protected species': Fans fume of Slater ruling


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Rugby League fans have slammed the NRL judiciary’s decision to clear Billy Slater for Sunday’s grand final, claiming the Storm fullback is treated like “a protected species”.

Considered one of the biggest judiciary cases in the NRL era, the three-man panel of Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane kept Slater waiting for 54 minutes to find him not guilty on Tuesday night.

Slater took the unusual step of getting to his feet and walking through the tackle to prove to the panel that Feki's side step played a significant factor in the collision.

Slater's defence argued the first point of contact with the Sharks winger was with the fullback's right hand, and that the shoulder of the Sharks winger had then hit his left pectoral muscle.

Slater claimed the main force that resulted in Feki being bundled out came from his hip.

“The whole time my intention was to make a tackle. It happens earlier than I expected to do but I’m still attempting to wrap my right arm. Even with my left arm is trying to wrap underneath. I was still trying to get my body in a position to get between the ball and the try line,” he says.

“I’ve got a duty to make a tackle, the duty of care is to myself and player Feki. To ensure I don’t make a high tackle is a duty to Feki. I feel the contact that was made was unavoidable once he veered back in. I think the decisions I made ensured the safest possible contact was made.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how the majority of the NRL fans interpreted the incident, with most taking aim at the judiciary and the game’s governing body for its lack of consistency.

Most fans pointed to Slater's preferential treatment in the case, also mentioning how the fullback was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal, despite missing the opening match of the Origin series and arguably being outplayed by returning Maroons teammate Daly Cherry-Evans in the last match.

While others underlined the confusion surrounding the shoulder charge rule and the message it sent to the family of James Ackerman.

Ackerman tragically passed away in 2015 after a forceful shoulder charge ruptured an artery in his neck against the Norths Devils in the QLD Cup.

https://twitter.com/JMThompson95/status/1044551403501277184

https://twitter.com/Schellmeister/status/1044552696936550400

https://twitter.com/chadnotweet/status/1044540533962489856

https://twitter.com/ellcee83/status/1044555518264504321

https://twitter.com/TupunaMichael/status/1044557690981167104

https://twitter.com/TimYowie/status/1044558641922158592

https://twitter.com/bazdev/status/1044558719202340864

https://twitter.com/SaraIsSkyBlue/status/1044558953449906177

https://twitter.com/SandfordEamon/status/1044559351782895621

Prior to the decision being handed down, the brother of the deceased footballer took to social media with a strong message to the NRL.

“Once again, when the shoulder charge comes into play this bloke right here (he pointed to a picture of James) is mentioned,” Andrew said.

“Now he is dead as the result of a shoulder charge. I watch him die that day, it’s not something I thought I’d ever have to watch.

"Whenever it’s brought up, we relive the past and I am sick of it. I am so, so sick of it. I want to scream, I want to break something, but I’m not that type of bloke.

“I am not a keyboard warrior. I want to get on here, show my face and show my feelings.

“Now Billy Slater should be found guilty of a shoulder charge. I know there was no malice nor intent to hurt in this tackle. No one was injured. But a shoulder charge was used.”

Rugby League fans have slammed the NRL judiciary’s decision to clear Billy Slater for Sunday’s grand final, claiming the Storm fullback is treated like “a protected species”.

Considered one of the biggest judiciary cases in the NRL era, the three-man panel of Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane kept Slater waiting for 54 minutes to find him not guilty on Tuesday night.

Slater took the unusual step of getting to his feet and walking through the tackle to prove to the panel that Feki's side step played a significant factor in the collision.

Slater's defence argued the first point of contact with the Sharks winger was with the fullback's right hand, and that the shoulder of the Sharks winger had then hit his left pectoral muscle.

Slater claimed the main force that resulted in Feki being bundled out came from his hip.

“The whole time my intention was to make a tackle. It happens earlier than I expected to do but I’m still attempting to wrap my right arm. Even with my left arm is trying to wrap underneath. I was still trying to get my body in a position to get between the ball and the try line,” he says.

“I’ve got a duty to make a tackle, the duty of care is to myself and player Feki. To ensure I don’t make a high tackle is a duty to Feki. I feel the contact that was made was unavoidable once he veered back in. I think the decisions I made ensured the safest possible contact was made.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how the majority of the NRL fans interpreted the incident, with most taking aim at the judiciary and the game’s governing body for its lack of consistency.

Most fans pointed to Slater's preferential treatment in the case, also mentioning how the fullback was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal, despite missing the opening match of the Origin series and arguably being outplayed by returning Maroons teammate Daly Cherry-Evans in the last match.

While others underlined the confusion surrounding the shoulder charge rule and the message it sent to the family of James Ackerman.

Ackerman tragically passed away in 2015 after a forceful shoulder charge ruptured an artery in his neck against the Norths Devils in the QLD Cup.

https://twitter.com/JMThompson95/status/1044551403501277184

https://twitter.com/Schellmeister/status/1044552696936550400

https://twitter.com/chadnotweet/status/1044540533962489856

https://twitter.com/ellcee83/status/1044555518264504321

https://twitter.com/TupunaMichael/status/1044557690981167104

https://twitter.com/TimYowie/status/1044558641922158592

https://twitter.com/bazdev/status/1044558719202340864

https://twitter.com/SaraIsSkyBlue/status/1044558953449906177

https://twitter.com/SandfordEamon/status/1044559351782895621

Prior to the decision being handed down, the brother of the deceased footballer took to social media with a strong message to the NRL.

“Once again, when the shoulder charge comes into play this bloke right here (he pointed to a picture of James) is mentioned,” Andrew said.

“Now he is dead as the result of a shoulder charge. I watch him die that day, it’s not something I thought I’d ever have to watch.

"Whenever it’s brought up, we relive the past and I am sick of it. I am so, so sick of it. I want to scream, I want to break something, but I’m not that type of bloke.

“I am not a keyboard warrior. I want to get on here, show my face and show my feelings.

“Now Billy Slater should be found guilty of a shoulder charge. I know there was no malice nor intent to hurt in this tackle. No one was injured. But a shoulder charge was used.”

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