NRL: Charge on Fa'aoso riles Toovey

Geoff Toovey. Photo /  Kenny Rodger.
Geoff Toovey. Photo / Kenny Rodger.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey launched a stinging attack on the NRL match review committee as forward Richie Fa'aoso faced the judiciary over a dangerous contact charge.

Fa'aoso will fight for a reduction to the grade-three charge, which resulted in Gold Coast back-rower Ashley Harrison being carried from the field in a neck brace on Saturday night.

If unsuccessful at the judiciary, Fa'aoso faces a four-week suspension - a punishment Toovey feels is excessive.

Toovey implored the judiciary not to make an example of his prop as the NRL cracks down on shoulder charges, which have been outlawed.

"I hope they don't make an example because there is no example to be made," Toovey said. "He's come in contact with Ashley Harrison's head accidentally and he's been punished for it but we just believe that it's probably a bit too severe.

" ... We think that Richie's been particularly hard done by with the grading, so we think it's way too high and we've got a good case, we believe."

The Sea Eagles appear set to claim Harrison's injuries were the result of an accidental head clash rather than a shoulder hit. It is understood they are miffed at the lesser charge dealt to Melbourne fullback Billy Slater, who was slapped with a grade-one dangerous contact charge which left North Queensland's Antonio Winterstein concussed. Slater's shoulder made contact with Winterstein's head and left the winger dazed for two days afterwards - the former Golden Boot winner escaped suspension with an early guilty plea.

Toovey lashed the match review panel for perceived inconsistencies.

"I can't comment on other cases but that's the problem with the consistency of the judiciary," he said. "All I can say is we believe the grading is unfair for Richie, [it was] accidental contact and that's the case we'll be presenting."

Toovey says he is in favour of measures which protect players but feels Fa'aoso's proposed punishment is not in line with his crime.

"I understand that they have a duty to protect players and the health of players, which I think is the number one priority. It's just the consistency of the whole thing," he said. "We need to protect the players ... but there's certain degrees of culpability and we believe this one's of a lesser extent."


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