Cronulla Sharks prop Ben Ross was tonight banned for 7 weeks for his late elbow to the Storms Cooper Cronk. The NRL judiciary showed no mercy to the prominent Sharks forward – making an example of Ross and confirming that late, high hits will simply not be tolerated in todays Rugby League.
A devastated Ben Ross admitted he has let his teammates down and his suspension has come at the worst time for the Sharks as they struggle to fill gaps in their forward pack after losing Reece Williams indefinitely with a knee injury. Adding to the pain, was the fact that the Sharks have started the 2008 NRL season in the best possible fashion – undefeated in Rounds 1 and 2, beating the highly rated Manly and Melbourne teams.
Ross tried to explain his moment of madness as a ‘mistimed push’; explaining he was merely trying to push the smaller Cronk – but the speed and height difference caused the connection to be made higher, thus collecting Cronk in the head.
Ricky Stuart is privately fuming at the poor discipline of Ben Ross; the big prop having previous history at the judiciary and adding to this, he has spent plenty of time on the injured list after joining the Sharks. Cronulla have every right to question the value they are getting from the big name player.
In other NRL citing news; Manly Sea Eagle Josh Perry has escaped a ban after challenging his head-butt charge and succeeding. Originally facing a one-match ban, Perry tonight pleaded not guilty and the panel saw it his way. This was an amazing escape for Perry, I have no idea how he escaped penalty on this one – his attack on Danny Wicks was clear as day; a direct head-butt that has now gone unpunished! How can White cop a 4 week ban for striking and Perry get off scott free? Extreme Inconsistency in my eyes.