Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Last Friday night the Penrith Panthers took on the Brisbane Broncos in a game that was hotly contested.
The first half saw the Broncos matching Penrith before dropping off in the second half and succumbing to a 40-12 defeat but an incident that occurred during the game has overshadowed the result.
In the second half, a scuffle between players from both sides broke out and resulted in Broncos forward Keenan Palasia and Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards palming each other in the face.
The referee deemed this as forceful contact to the head by both players and they were sent to the sin bin.
Fans have been outraged by the call with most people believing that neither player deserved to be sent from the field for the incident.
Two open hand slaps, two sin bins. RIP, rugby league.
— Dean Ritchie (@BulldogRitchie) April 15, 2022
Some have even gone as far as inferring that decisions such as this one will lead to the death of the game as The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie put out a bold statement via his Twitter page.
“Two open hand slaps, two sin bins. RIP, rugby league,” said Ritchie.
Fox League commentators Andrew Voss and Michael Ennis both reacted to the referee’s verdict with shock and confusion.
“Old blokes crying at the moment, the way the game has changed, but that is the modern-day one-on-one stoush,” Voss said.
“That is the modern-day one-on-one and they have both gone to the bin for 10.”
'The modern day one-on-one stoush'
Palasia and Edwards were both sent to the bin after this encounter 👀
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 15, 2022
While the decision made by referee Adam Gee was consistent with other calls relating to “forceful contact with the head” the context of the situation should have been taken into account.
Yes, in today’s game we generally will see players go to the sin bin for forceful contact with the head but the situation generally involves a player’s head being impacted in a way that can cause serious injury.
A player hit high in a tackle has a far greater chance of causing damage than a shove to the face and that is what Gee should have taken into further consideration when addressing the incident involving Palasia and Edwards on Friday night.