There’s been both joy and strong criticism of an NRL decision allowing Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater to play a fairytale Grand final. The definition of a shoulder charge now faces review.
Kendyl Bailey reports.
He’s going down in history as a rugby league champion, but Billy Slater’s final weeks wearing the purple and gold have been tarnished by controversy.
After three hours of deliberation, last night the NRL Judiciary voted not to suspend Slater after his hit on a Cronulla player in the preliminary.
Billy Slater, Melbourne Storm: “I’d just like to thank the judiciary members for a fair hearing.”
Slater made a passionate plea, arguing he had to make a split second decision and contact was unavoidable.
Billy Slater, Melbourne Storm: “It was important for me tonight to get my point across. And what my intentions were in this incident.”
But footy fanatics all-over are questioning the outcome.
The brother of league player James Ackerman, who was killed after a shoulder charge in 2015, has labelled the decision an “insult”.
The sentiment is being echoed by some current players.
Boyd Cordner, Sydney Roosters: “Yeah scratching my head about what actually are the rules around that and everything like that. For me, personally, it was a shoulder charge.”
Storm fans, at least, will be happy their star player will take the field against the Roosters on Sunday.
Brett Kimmorley, Former Player: “But he gets the fairy tale send-off. One of the best, or probably the best, fullback our game has ever had. A great ornament for the game.”
The NRL is now set to re-examine the shoulder rule during the offseason.
Kendyl Bailey, QUT News.