Tonight Bulldog Sonny Bill Williams and Bunny David Fa’alogo will face the NRL judiciary to limit the impact from their suspensions handed out in Round 25.
For Sonny Bill Williams, his case to seek a downgrading from a Grade 2 to a Grade 1 high tackle charge has the most chance of succeeding. While the hit from Williams on Jonathan Thurston was slightly late and quite high, he does have some hope of getting the charge downgraded as similar offences this year have only earned 1 week bans for Rugby League offenders. When viewed in real time, the SBW hit didn’t look too bad – but when the footage is slowed down, it does look a touch more ugly and if he fails tonight Sonny Bill will miss 3 games in total and effectively write-off the finals hopes of the Bulldogs.
David Fa’alogo and the Bunnies however must be kidding if they think the big prop will successfully get his striking charge reduced. Obviously they are only contesting the charge because they have nothing to lose (as a 5 game suspension ends the Fa’alogo season anyway) – however, the chances of Fa’alogo getting a reduction are probably as close to those of the Brisbane Broncos winning the premiership. Absolutely none.
I’m all for a bit of biff in the game, but the way Fa’alogo got up and ‘king hit’ Anasta immediately after the tackle was shocking – it was simply a throw back to the dark old days of Les Boyd. The NRL has got the grading exactly right, 5 weeks is a just penalty for the big Souths forward and the system will again prove successful when they rub the prop out for 7 weeks after his challenge proves unsuccessful tonight.