Judiciary overhaul overdue
RECENTLY-retired international Brent Tate has called for an urgent overhaul of the NRL's judicial system.
The call comes as South Sydney hooker Issac Luke faces its three-man panel tonight, desperately hoping to be shown some leniency and compassion to enable him play in Sunday's grand final against Canterbury.
Luke will throw himself at the mercy of a three-man panel of former NRL players and judiciary chairman, former District Court judge Paul Conlon, in the hope of having a grade-one lifting charge rescinded. If he fails, he will miss out on being part of South Sydney's first grand final appearance since the club last won the premiership in 1971.
Luke's chance of beating the charge looks slim.
But as Tate pointed out, players have got off similar charges this season.
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith missed the Storm's grand final in 2008 for a grapple tackle that many thought was an extremely tough penalty at the time.
Luke, who has carryover points and some judiciary history, would be shattered to miss the biggest game of his life.
While every South Sydney supporter would cry foul if Luke was not cleared to play, Canterbury fans, who have lost inspirational hooker Michael Ennis (two fractured bones in his foot), would be outraged.
"It's the biggest issue facing our game, it's like a lottery, like rolling the dice," Tate told APN.
"I don't think there would be a player or a coach who is happy with (the judiciary) system as it is."
Tate's North Queensland coach Paul Green was slugged $10,000 by the NRL this month for saying he had no faith in the judiciary system after one his players, Tariq Sims, was suspended for a shoulder charge on Brisbane fullback Justin Hodges.
Tate, who pulled the pin on a magnificent playing career in which he fought back from a serious neck injury and a number of knee reconstructions to play for Queensland and Australia, said players were getting off charges while others were doing time over for lifting tackles, shoulder charges and "chicken wing" offences.
"You see some players getting away with stuff that others players are getting two or three weeks for," said Tate, who was on the end of a terrifying lifting tackle in the second Origin game of this year's interstate series, for which his assailant Josh Reynolds was charged but did not miss a game after having his charge downgraded.
"Seriously, it's the biggest issue confronting the game and so frustrating for coaches, players and the fans," Tate added.
"I can tell you some NRL clubs are ready to revolt if something is not done, and done real soon.
"The system needs a massive overhaul."