Due to the NRL’s judiciary overhaul at the beginning of last season all players with prior records were given a clean slate.
This means that unless serious charges are brought against a player we are unlikely to see lengthy suspensions the likes of which were more prominent a little over a decade ago.
Since the NRL era began in 1998, there have been plenty of bans handed out which saw players on the sidelines for a significant amount of time.
GREG BIRD 2004 – 10 WEEKS (DANGEROUS CONTACT)
Former New South Wales State of Origin representative and Australian International Greg Bird was suspended for ten weeks in round four of the 2004 NRL season for kneeing Rabbitohs winger Shane Marteene in the head while he was playing for the Sharks.
TIM MADDISON 2002 – 10 WEEKS (STRIKING)
Former Cowboys forward Tim Maddison was handed a ten-week ban in 2002 for striking current Titans head coach and then Roosters halfback Justin Holbrook in a shocking display.
LUKE MACDOUGALL 2005 – 10 WEEKS (DANGEROUS THROW)
In 2005 the Rabbitohs rivalry with the Roosters was just as bitter as it is today and one player took things too far when Bunnies player Luke MacDougall was suspended for 10 weeks for his unruly tackle on Roosters legend Anthony Minichiello.
LOPINI PAEA 2006 – 10 WEEKS (DANGEROUS THROW)
During their 2006 clash with the Storm, Roosters utility Lopini Paea came close to seriously injuring Melbourne’s Ben Cross in a tackle which earned Paea a ten-week stint on the sidelines.
LUKE O’DONNELL 2003 – 11 WEEKS (RECKLESS HIGH TACKLE)
Tigers forward Luke O’Donnell was handed an 11-week ban for his hit on Raiders player Michael Monaghan in 2003 which resulted in Monaghan breaking his jaw and requiring surgery.
JOSH STUART 1998 – 12 WEEKS (2x HIGH TACKLE)
North Sydney Bears forward Josh Stuart was handed a whopping 12 weeks on the sidelines for his two high tackles during a game in 1998.
JOHN HOPOATE 2001 – 12 WEEKS (3x CONTRARY CONDUCT)
In a game that has gone down in infamy Tigers player John Hopoate was suspended for 12 weeks when he stuck his finger in the anuses of three different Cowboys players when the two sides met in 2001.
CLINT NEWTON 2004 – 12 WEEKS (STRIKING)
In 2004 Ashton Sims was set to represent the USA in a test against Australia before his International hopes were dashed due to an injury sustained from then-Knights forward Clint Newtown’s elbow which cost Newtown 12 weeks of game time.
JAMES GRAHAM 2012 – 12 WEEKS (BITING)
During the 2012 NRL Grand Final Bulldogs forward James Graham shocked viewers when he was seen biting the ear of Melbourne Storm icon Billy Slater in a stunt that saw him suspended for 12 weeks the following season.
JOHN HOPOATE 2005 – 17 WEEKS (STRIKING)
In what ended up being his final NRL game Manly player John Hopoate was suspended for 17 weeks after elbowing Sharks forward Keith Galloway in the head in a reckless tackle attempt.
DANNY WILLIAMS 2004 – 18 WEEKS (STRIKING)
Tigers forward Mark O’Neill suffered from post-traumatic amnesia in 2004 after being king hit by Storm player Danny Williams in a sickening display that saw Williams suspended for an astonishing 18 weeks, the longest suspension in the history of the NRL era.