Jack Wighton of the Raiders faces a ban for a shoulder charge.
Jack Wighton of the Raiders faces a ban for a shoulder charge. LUKAS COCH

Judiciary slammed over lack of consistency

THE NRL's judiciary will be on trial in Sydney tomorrow night as much as Canberra fullback Jack Wighton, who will try to beat a shoulder charge ruling threatening to end his season on a bitter note.

Players and the rugby league community were still debating two shoulder charge tackles from last weekend involving Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis and Wighton.

While the NRL's Match Review Committee deemed Ennis, who will retire at season's end, would escape a booking under its three-point criteria, it slapped Wighton with a grade-two penalty, potentially ending his season as his club shoots for its first premiership since 1994.

MRC co-ordinator Michael Buettner went to great pains earlier this week to explain the difference between Wighton's shot on Joel Edwards and Ennis's tackle on Melbourne's Blake Green.

However polls conducted by various media outlets returned overwhelming results against the NRL argument that the two tackles were vastly different.

The general opinion was that Ennis's tackle on Green was late and he led with his shoulder and therefore was a shoulder charge.

It was an opinion shared by greats Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer and a number of other leading commentators and former players.

To allow Ennis to play in this week's final against Canberra, which will be without Wighton if he fails in his efforts to beat his charge at the judiciary in Sydney tomorrow night, reeks of double standards and only further confuses fans and players.

Brisbane's Kiwi international Alex Glenn said yesterday: "The consistency is not there, which is hard for us players.”

Teammate Sam Thaiday went in even harder.

"I love it (judiciary),” he said with a cheeky smile.

"People say rugby league players are pretty dumb but people are even more confused after this.

"It's something the game will have to take a deep hard look at at the end of the year, but yeah, as a player I am confused yet again.

"It's confusing for you, and you've got a college degree; I've got nothing, so it's twice as confusing for me.”