It has emerged this week that Wigan Warriors prop forward Iafeta Paleaaesina has had his one match ban overturned after appealing the decision before a panel. Paleaaeina was brought before the disciplinary committee on Tuesday 4th September due to being sin binned and put on report during Friday’s match against Salford City Reds. He was found guilty of striking on Tuesday which lead to the ban along with a £300 fine. However, Paleaaesina then decided to appeal this decision before a panel on Wednesday 5th September and it was overturned. The prop forward was still however made to pay the £300 fine. This puzzled me completely! If he’s paying the fine, he’s guilty. Yet he is being allowed to play? How can the RFL be giving out half punishments to players who break the rules? Is it any wonder we hear almost every week of more players being put before a disciplinary committee when there are such insufficient punishments? Players need to be going into games knowing if they break the rules they are in big trouble, otherwise this growing problem will never end.
How many times have we seen the ‘big boys’ of the game get away with shocking violations? The Terry Newtons, the Ryan Baileys of the game. We all know them and we all know them for the same reason. These players, along with many others are the infamous ‘big hitters.’ In other words, get on the wrong side of them and you’re going to need medical attention. You have to wonder why these kinds of players not getting big punishments. Yes Terry Newton for instance was given a twelve week ban earlier this year, however how many times have we seen him take a swing at someone? The same goes for Ryan Bailey, and many others. I’m not trying to turn this entry into a pin-pointing session at certain players but the examples are everywhere.
Many people will say “oh its part of the game,” “rugby league wouldn’t be the same without the bust ups.” Well I’m sorry, but I disagree. It’s these kind of thuggish actions which aren’t being properly dealt with which is giving the game of Rugby League a bad name. In my opinion, The RFL needs to really toughen up and have one rule for everybody rather than different rules for different players. If any player is found guilty of rule breaking, whether it be striking, a high tackle or something else they should be punished accordingly. No player should be allowed to get away with raising the arms to another player. Yes rugby league is a full contact sport and we all enjoy watching competitive matches, but this doesn’t mean we should have to watch players punching each others lights out anytime they cross wires.
The problem lies within the players themselves and in my opinion it all stems from the fact that the RFL are rapidly losing control within the game. Somebody needs to wake up and realize the vicious circle the game is getting itself into. Players are doing whatever they like because the know they wont be harshly punished and the punishments are getting weaker because the players are appealing claiming others didn’t get the same treatment.
Rugby League is so much more than 26 men on a pitch running at each other; it’s a strong, competitive team game and it should be seen that way by everybody. Rather than people stereotyping Rugby League as thuggish, undisciplined and unrespectable.
It’s a whole different ball game.
She’s a whole different writer.