Briton Nikota cops suspension as NRL fans left fuming over Jarome Luai development

The match review committee has decided on punishments for the Sharks and Panthers players.

NRL fans are crying foul over the punishments handed down to Briton Nikora and Jarome Luai after Friday night's matches. Nikora was sent to the sin-bin for a shocking late high shot on Viliame Kikau in Cronulla's win over the Bulldogs, and was hit with a two-gam suspension on Saturday.

The match review committee charged Nikora with grade-two dangerous contact and offered him a two-match ban. The second-rower will miss the next two games against the Wests Tigers and Canberra if he takes the early guilty plea, but risks sitting out the following game against the Rabbitohs as well if he challenges and fails.

Briton Nikora and Jarome Luai.
Briton Nikora and Jarome Luai have both received seemingly soft punishments. Image: Fox League

Nikora is highly likely to take the two-game ban considering it seems like a pretty light punishment. Many were gobsmacked that Nikora wasn't sent off completely after he hit Kikau in the head with his shoulder after his Bulldogs opponent had passed the ball.

Nikora made no attempt to use his arms, lowering his body and levelling Kikau straight in the face with a shoulder charge. The fact he was only sin-binned for 10 minutes and has received a reasonable lenient punishment has left NRL fans fuming.

Briton Nikora in action for the Sharks against the Bulldogs.
Many thought Briton Nikora should have been sent off. Image: Fox League

Jarome Luai escapes suspension despite two charges

And it's the same situation with Luai, who was hit with two separate charges on Saturday but can accept $1800 fines for each. Luai was reported twice in the Panthers' win over Parramatta - one for a high tackle and the other for a blatant trip.


Luai hit Bailey Simonsson with a swinging arm in the early stages of the contest, and the Parramatta winger never returned after failing his head injury assessment (HIA). The Panthers five-eighth then stuck out his foot and tripped Mitchell Moses after being wrong-footed by the Parramatta halfback, giving away a penalty.

Some thought either or both of the incidents could have warranted a sin-bin, and the fact he has avoided suspension hasn't gone down well either. Luai is now free to take on the Broncos next week in a blockbuster grand final rematch.

Bulldogs and Eels left fuming over refereeing in losses

The incidents with Nikora and Luai came amid a night of controversy, with the Bulldogs and Eels both crying foul over the refereeing. Brad Arthur said he believed the Panthers' first try should have been disallowed because Isaah Yeo broke the new 'downtown' rule, while Cameron Ciraldo was seething over a Bulldogs try that was disallowed because referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski got in the way.

Kikau thought he'd scored a fair try in the first half, but the Bunker upheld Przeklasa-Adamski's decision of 'no try' because he'd impeded Braydon Trindall on the goal line. Przeklasa-Adamski sent it to the Bunker as 'no try' even though Trindall was highly unlikely to stop a rampaging Kikau from close range.

"I thought there were a lot of other calls that went against us," Ciraldo said in his press conference. "Blake Taaffe gets tackled in the air and loses the ball - that's a penalty every day of the week.

"I'm going to have to send them (video clips) in this week and get some clarity on some of them because there's just so many of them. I felt like that last year, but we were hurting ourselves last year and we didn't have that same level of effort. Now I have that level of effort from our guys, I want to get the fair calls and for us to get what we deserve."

with AAP