Cronulla’s hardman Paul Gallen and livewire Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis have both pulled off massive escape acts tonight, walking free from the NRL Judiciary when many thought they were set to do time.
The situation has become increasingly frustrating for Gallen, a regular visitor to the judiciary and considered by some to be one of the dirtiest players in the NRL. Our very own commentator, the NRL News Grubber was suggesting that Gallen buy a unit close to the judiciary to save on regular travel costs.
Regardless, Gallen has walked – with coach Ricky Stuart obviously over the moon to get his star player back on deck. If Gallen was rubbed out for any amount of time, there was a hint from the Sharks they may look to fine the player – as he spends so much time on the sidelines from judiciary bans.
Apparently Stuart delivered a passionate defence plea to the judiciary, re-enacting the Gallen tackle and explaining that he felt the head of Wing ‘bounced’ off the chest of his player. Stuart also asked the judiciary to look at the reaction of Gallen after the tackle, explaining there was no look of guilt or concern from Gallen – he merely felt it was a regulation hit, that wouldn’t be spoken of again.
It seemed the emotional stance from Stuart worked, with Gallen thanking his coach after he was cleared of any wrong-doing.
The only problem for Gallen, is that his aggressive stance will continue to see him in the spotlight and any wrong moves will have him in hot water soon after. With every mention, replay and hearing – this guy becomes more and more on the outer with officials. His situation is not dissimilar to that of Craig Smith several years ago, the Dragons forward having to leave the NRL as his running style saw him in constant trouble with the judiciary.
For Ennis, the in-form hooker looked a shot duck – with his over zealous chicken wing attempt looking very bad on the tape.
But the hooker claimed he wasn’t attempting to wrestle or perform a chicken wing, he was apparently reacting to the arm of Dugan that was thrust into the throat of Ennis. The hooker suggesting it was more a protection or retaliation, rather than a deliberate wrestle or chicken wing attempt.
In another successful hearing, Ennis too strode safely from the room and is set to take his place on the field this weekend. The freedom for Ennis proving very timely, with the in-form rake set to face his arch nemisis Robbie Farah in what should be a classic battle on Sunday.