OPINION: Hands off the referee, Klemmer

NRL judiciary takes nine minutes to drop the charge against David Klemmer.
NRL judiciary takes nine minutes to drop the charge against David Klemmer. john mccutcheon

RUGBY LEAGUE: I don't know about you, but I am totally confused.

Of all the referee touches by NRL players last weekend, Bulldogs forward David Klemmer's appeared the most deliberate as he put his arm out and into the chest of whistle blower Ben Cummins.

Now before you Bulldogs fans come looking for me, I'm not saying there was any intent or malice on Klemmer's part, and as it turned out, neither did referee Cummins.

Klemmer has previous form following a foul-mouthed verbal spray on match officials in a game last season.

But after a lengthy hearing, the NRL judiciary's three-man panel took just nine minutes to drop the grade two contrary contact charge which threatened to sideline the giant Bulldogs enforcer for three games.

It seems panel members Paul Whatuira, Bob Lindner and Don McKinnon accepted Cummins' unsolicited evidence that he had not noticed Klemmer touch him.

Todd Greenberg, the NRL's head of football and front-runner to replace departed CEO David Smith in the top job, said he was extremely disappointed the match review committee, while charging Klemmer and Brisbane centre James Roberts with touching the referee, missed three other cases involving Penrith prop Trent Merrin, Parramatta's Corey Norman (round one) and Tiger Mitchell Moses who all committed the same offence.

Roberts, who by the way had no recollection of patting Cummins on the chest during last weekend's clash with the Warriors, fired in an early guilty plea to allow him to play in Saturday night's clash with Penrith.

There was no malice or intent in what Roberts did either, yet he is the only one of the offending 'referee touchers' to pay a penalty.

So after two rounds we have three players escaping being charged, two others charged, one getting off because the referee involved said he didn't feel any contact and the other player, in this case Roberts, being left with carry over points which could come into play later in the year, because he didn't challenge his charge.

I might be wrong, but am I missing something here?

Doesn't the rule say players CANNOT touch a referee?

Things are going to get very, very messy if the judiciary can base its decisions on the degree of contact.

The rule is the rule. Do not touch referees, that's pretty clear.

While on the subject of the judiciary, well done to North Queensland's Matt Scott for defending his reputation after being charged with a crusher tackle week on Parramatta forward Kenny Edwards.

Scott should not have had to defend his tackle on Edwards, with video replays showing there was no intent to injure the Eels utility.

Topics:  bulldogs david klemmer nrl opinion rugby league sport

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