Dangerous tackle charges levelled against Viliame Kikau and Cameron Smith have drawn the ire of rugby league great Phil Gould, who described the charges against both players as ‘pedantic’.
Both players were hit with grade one charges over incidents in their respective NRL finals matches over the weekend, but Penrith’s Kikau faces a one-week ban due to carry-over points.
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If found guilty, Melbourne Storm’s Smith’s charge wouldn’t warrant a ban on it’s own, but that didn’t stop Gould from teeing off on both charges.
“I can’t see why either of them have been charged. This, again, is really pedantic. It’s stupid,” he said on Channel 9’s 100% Footy.
“It’s not just that their legs are above the horizontal, it’s got to be most likely that the first point of contact for the man with the ball is going to be head or neck on the ground.
“In neither of those instances could you argue that the first point of contact from the man with the ball was going to be head or neck on the ground. It wasn’t. They were both virtually on the ground.”
Gould reserved particular criticism for Smith’s dangerous tackle charge, which he said was ‘disgraceful’.
Smith’s tackle on Parramatta opponent Dylan Brown appeared relatively in order, but the match review committee saw fit to hit the Storm veteran with the charge nonetheless.
“That’s a disgraceful decision,” Gould said.
“Whoever is in charge of the match review committee, if that’s his example of a throw tackle, then he needs to be rubbed out.
“That is disgraceful that we are charging a player with a dangerous tackle for that tackle there. That is utterly ridiculous.”
Panthers counting on Kikau avoiding ban
Penrith say they can cover Viliame Kikau, but are counting on the star forward escaping a ban to play in their NRL preliminary final.
Kikau will front the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night on a dangerous throw change, with a guilty finding ruling him out of their grand-final qualifier against either South Sydney or Parramatta, who play off on Saturday night.
Kikau has been a stand-out for the Panthers this season, averaging 100m per game and is a handful for any defence.
Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards said it would be huge blow to lose the 25-year-old for his tackle on Sydney Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
"I'm not sure what to make of the tackle - I definitely don't think there was much in it, hopefully he's all right," Edwards said on Monday.
"The result will be what will be but fingers crossed it's a good result for us.
"He's massive and a crucial part of our side.
"He's played great footy all year and the gap between his best and worst performances is very little as he's really worked hard on his consistency.
"He has been awesome for us this year."
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