Eels rue enforcer being sidelined again

Darren Walton and Pam Whaley
Eels Nathan Brown failed in a bid to have a careless high tackle charge downgraded on Tuesday

Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson doesn't want Nathan Brown to change - he'd just prefer to see him on the paddock more often.

Not even a robust defence from gun lawyer Nick Ghabar at the NRL judiciary could save the Eels enforcer from his second two-game suspension of the season.

A stop-start season that is only six rounds old.

By the time he serves his latest ban in his own stop-start season, Brown will have missed half of Parramatta's first eight games.

The 27-year-old, who was otherwise one of the Eels' best in last Saturday night's 24-10 loss to the Sydney Roosters, is making a worrying habit of walking a fine line between aggression and suspension.

Had the Eels not made last year's finals, a shoulder charge on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in round 23 would have ended his season.

Dropping his knees on Dale Copley in round two this year earned Brown another two week "holiday".

When he returns next month, following his latest ban for a careless high tackle on Roosters lock Victor Radley, Brown will have missed six of 12 games for Parramatta.

"It's tough, it always is," Gutherson said.

"He plays the game at 110 miles per hour and that's why we love him and that's why he's so good for us.

"But he just gets it a little bit wrong sometimes."

As the three-man judiciary panel agreed on Tuesday night.

The rugged lock will miss Saturday's night's bumper clash with Canberra and next week's game against North Queensland after failing to have his grade-two careless high tackle charge downgraded.

Boasting an enviable record in getting some of league's biggest names off at the tribunal, most notably freeing Billy Slater to play the 2018 grand final, Ghabar did his level best to spare Brown, too.

He produced footage of a grade-one careless high tackle from Radley on Gutherson earlier in the same game and one from Eels centre Waqa Blake on Manly hooker Danny Levi in round three to try to convince the panel that Brown's "could not possibly have been twice as bad".

Ghabar argued his client was attempting a traditional wrapping tackle with an open hand, unlike Blake jumping "wildly into" his with a "clenched fist and swinging arm".

The smooth-talking barrister noted how Blake's "relatively significant contact" forced Levi to drop the ball and also claimed Radley's tackle on Gutherson left the Parramatta skipper's head recoiling backwards.

But the three-man panel of Sean Garlick, Ben Creagh and Bob Lindner was having none of it, taking less than 15 minutes to find Brown guilty - once again.