Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Parramatta Eels are quickly becoming a bogey team for competition heavyweights the Melbourne Storm after beating them in an upset for the third time in a row.
Brad Arthur’s side clawed their way back late in the contest to send the game to golden point at 24 all before Ray Stone crossed over and scored just one minute into extra time to win the game for the Eels who have now won two out of their first three games in 2022.
During the game, Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona hit Parramatta’s Makahesi Makatoa with a swinging arm to the back of the head and was not only allowed to stay on the field but still also not face suspension if he takes an early guilty plea, instead he will only receive a $1000 fine.
This call contradicts what we have seen when a player has been hit in the head this far in 2022, leading many to question why Asofa-Solomona got off so easily.
Fox League’s Michael Ennis shared his displeasure with the call while commentating on the game.
MATCH REVIEW COMMITTEE:
Nelson Asofa-Solomona will only receive a fine for this high shot from last night's game…
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) March 27, 2022
“There was a moment with Makatoa where he came in late into the back of the head,” Ennis said.
“Is that not a sin bin?
“It is direct contact to the back of the head, it’s a swinging arm.
“He’s had time to think about it.
“It is deliberate.”
Ennis’ commentary partner Andrew Voss backed up the NRL premiership winner, going as far as to claim that Asofa-Solomona’s high tackle on Makatoa was “worse than a crusher tackle”.
Parramatta seems to share Ennis’ sentiments as The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley is reporting that the club is privately disenfranchised with the decision.
The inconsistency with decisions relating to contact being made with the head has been prevalent in the game for the past couple of seasons now and is one of the biggest problems fans have with our game.
Most people simply want a fair competition where decisions are uniform throughout the season.
While this specific situation did not impact the outcome of a game it is indicative of the NRL’s failure to ensure their referees are on the same page when interpreting an incident that occurs during a game.