Bulldogs rear rower Corey Waddell was found guilty of recklessly gouging out an eye at a marathon court hearing on Tuesday night and was suspended for five matches.
The Canterbury striker, who testified via video link, was skeptical when the verdict was handed down saying he did not put any pressure on the face of Gold Coast’s Tino Faasuamaleui.
Waddell has been taken straight to court on dangerous contact charges following an incident during Sunday’s victory at CommBank Stadium.
Faasuamaleui filed a complaint on the field with referee Ben Cummins but did not show up for the court hearing, which was questioned by Gabar, who said the Titans’ skipper may have caught fire simply to earn his side a penalty.
Forensic Counsel Knowles stated that there was an unwritten code among the players that they would not testify against each other, and argued that Waddell’s fingers were in a dangerous position and that contact could have ruined not only someone’s career, but also their long-term career. . health term.
Knowles requested a ban of at least five matches after a judicial panel deemed the contact reckless, saying that Waddell’s lack of remorse was indicative of no remorse or responsibility.
Gabar asked for a two-match penalty.
Waddell was adamant that the contact was accidental and that he was simply trying to bring Faasuamaleui to the ground, pointing out the fact that his opponent had no scratches around his eye.
“I found my hand on his forehead,” Waddell said via video link.
“I didn’t put any pressure on his face, I was trying to work on the slide and tighten my hips.”
The Bulldog ban comes after Sharks captain Dale Finucane said a dangerous precedent had been set after he was suspended two games by the referees of Bob Lindner and Dallas Johnson for one of the most controversial tackles of the season.
Finucane was initially out of the game for three games, but managed to get his rating down to level two, which reduced the ban by one game.
He will now miss matches against Rabbitohs and Dragons.
“I was very surprised by the outcome, given that it was an accidental violation,” he said.
“Given that in our game there were no sanctions for accidental head contact before, I was optimistic.
“I am extremely disappointed with the result.
“I was disappointed with the result considering it was an accidental violation. While I sympathize with Steven…it will set a precedent for the future.”
Finucane received a level three negligent charge for contacting Stephen Crichton, which left the Panthers center bleeding, suffering a concussion and requiring plastic surgery to repair his damaged ear.
Crichton was not named after Penrith for his round 20 game against Parramatta.
The commission found Finucane guilty, but he immediately disputed the assessment with Gabar, questioning the legality of the medical report and the use of a photograph of Crichton’s injury.
He said that while the image was graphic, the report was not serious as it only mentioned soft tissue damage to Crichton’s left ear.
“I didn’t think it would lead to a laceration,” Finucane said afterwards.
“Every week, players from other teams, myself included, get several lacerations and bruises from random head-on collisions. Moving forward, they’re going to sanction it now.”
Finucane, represented by Nick Gabar, said he was unharmed by the contact and that all he wanted to do was hit so he could close Crichton’s distance so the Sharks could get the ball in good outfield position to try to win the game.
“I wouldn’t change what I did because it was a calculated decision in a football context,” Finucane said during cross-examination.
“This is a competitive sport and we had to do everything to win the game. I wouldn’t change what I did in that script.”
Originally published as NRL 2022: Bulldog Cory Waddell suspended for five games for eye gouging