Manly coach Geoff Toovey has lashed out at the NSW Rugby League for their failure to support Blues star Anthony Watmough at the NRL Judiciary.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey has taken aim at the NSW Rugby League for leaving the club stranded at Anthony Watmough’s judiciary hearing while they celebrated at the pub.
Watmough was charged with a grade two dangerous throw charge in the Blues’ State of Origin triumph on Wednesday night, and will now miss four NRL matches after failing in his bid to get a downgrade.
Even for incidents arising from Origin, it’s the clubs who are usually left to race the clock organising a case and to foot the bill for legal representation.
However, on this occasion NSWRL chief executive Dave Trodden contacted Manly boss David Perry and offered to pay for the costs – an offer which was accepted.
But despite the assistance, Toovey was still left seething that no one from NSW showed up to Thursday’s hearing to support one of their players, particularly when it’s Manly who pay the price on the field.
“It’s a massive blow for us and most disappointing for me is we didn’t even get a phone call from the NSW rugby league,” Toovey fumed.
“No one turned up last night. Just Manly left holding the can once more.
“They couldn’t even tear themselves away from the pub for five minutes to come and support one of their players.
“When it comes to injuries and suspensions, like us with Anthony Watmough, the club and the club’s fans are the ones that suffer – not the rep games or NSW.”
Trodden disputed Toovey’s claim that there was no contact made, but sympathised with the coach’s anger.
“I spoke with Manly CEO David Perry yesterday afternoon regarding the judiciary hearing for Anthony Watmough,” Trodden said.
“I made an offer for NSWRL to bear the cost of the representation given that the incident which gave rise to the charge occurred whilst Anthony was playing for NSW. The offer was accepted.
“I have also spoken with Geoff Toovey this afternoon regarding the matter. I completely understand the frustration which he feels in having his club lose a key player for a number of weeks over an incident which arose in a game that the club was not involved in.
“I also understand that frustration which he feels in having to deal with the judiciary hearing process over something which did not involve his club.”
Manly were left frustrated that Watmough was suspended for a month, when NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds escaped any ban for a similar lifting tackle in Origin I.
Toovey said the inconsistency of the judiciary’s rulings on dangerous tackles this year has been poor.
The NRL announced it would crack down on the tackle after the Alex McKinnon tragedy, but after a number of successful downgrades by players, Watmough is the first to really bear the brunt.
“The judiciary is pretty inequitable for players, you just don’t know what you’re going to get,” he said.
“They always talk about consistency, but the panels are instructed either to ignore past things or take them off. So it’s a bit of a lottery, yes.”