Canberra Raiders forward Hudson Young has been hit with an eight-week ban by the NRL judiciary for dangerous contact with a player's eyes despite victim Warriors' Adam Pompey defending his opponent.
The judiciary dismissed evidence from Pompey and handed Young his second ban for the dangerous contact with a player's eyes charge this season. He was handed a five-week ban for a similar incident in round 12.
Young's claims that he had not made any contact with Pompey's eyes were rejected.
The ugly moment came in the 30th minute in Saturday's game when the Pompey scored to make it 12-all.
The act went unnoticed initially.
The Warriors would go on to win 24-20 and resign the Raiders to a final match against runaway minor premiers the Melbourne Storm in week one of the finals series. Young will now play no part in the finals.
Former New South Wales halfback Brett Finch exploded over the incident, slamming the young star for the ugly act.
"He's a repeat offender — yeah, he's gone," Finch started. "He's got serious issues, he's done it before, that is absolute garbage.
"That is not what our game is about, that's a disgraceful act. Look at the pressure on his eyes here, that is terrible."
"He should react, he should put one right on his chin, "And this is a bloke who spent five weeks on the sideline, you can't attack the eyes of an opposing player."
The commentators noted Young had seen himself on the big screen and looked worried.
"He knows he's done it in the first half and he's a repeat offender, that's a disgrace," Finch said. "He'll be disappointed, Ricky, he doesn't coach players like that — that's crap. It's really poor.
"He could go from anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks. Why shouldn't he? That's pressure on someone's eyes, he's done it before and he's only just come back. He went for two cracks at it. George Burgess got eight weeks. That's really poor, we don't need that in our game, it's a disgraceful act in my opinion.
"Clearly six weeks wasn't enough, go spend six weeks on the sideline young fella. How do you get that habit in your game?"
Speaking after the game on Fox League, Michael Ennis said it doesn't look great.
Greg Alexander was equally perplexed.
"What's going on? Why would he even think about doing that?" Alexander said. "That's a complete lack of self control. I've got no idea what would make him do that after sitting five weeks on the sideline. The first one doesn't look too bad if you play it in normal speed but to have a crack again, he'll be in trouble.
"He won't be playing semi-final football, that'll be the end of Hudson Young. I don't think it matters how far they go, he won't be there."
Young pleaded guilty to an eye gouge on the Canterbury Bulldogs' Aiden Tolman earlier in the year and was awarded a five week ban in June.
After the game, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said "it didn't look good".
"He had two snaps at him, I didn't think it look real pretty," Kearney said.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was adamant Young didn't gouge Pompey.
"I've only briefly seen it again, I know he didn't gouge the kid, but there was a hand on the face from what I've seen from the video," Stuart said.
"It's something I've got to look at again and get a clearer version of it. It reminds me of the Josh McGuire incidents where he got fined for whatever's on the face."
Stuart said he asked Young about the incident and he said he didn't gouge Pompey and spoke to the Warriors player after the game.
"I don't condone any of this, if it was an eye gouge though, the kid would reel out that and he didn't," Stuart said. "I try to answer these as honestly as possible, if the hand was on the face, I don't know why but he did go for the ball. I hope for the kid's sake, if it is anything, it's the same as what Josh McGuire copped."
- With news.com.au