Jarome Luai has responded to a swipe from Ryan Matterson in the wake of the NRL grand final after being dragged into the Parramatta player's decision to take a three-match ban instead of a fine.
Matterson has stunned the NRL world with his decision to sit out three matches next season rather than take a $4000 fine for a crusher tackle on Dylan Edwards in the grand final.
Speaking to reporters at Parramatta's presentation night, Matterson said he had reasons for not taking up the financial sanction and expressed frustrations over perceived judicial inconsistencies.
Notably, the Eels back-rower questioned why Luai wasn't charged over an alleged first-half kick on Isaiah Papali'i.
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The 27-year-old also called on the NRL to abolish fines, claiming players were struggling to keep up amid rule changes.
"I just feel that $4000 is pretty hefty considering I have already paid close to $4000 in fines this year for things that are absurd," Matterson said.
"At the end of the day I have personal things I need to worry about outside of rugby league. I just didn't think it was warranted.
"If you do something wrong at work. They don't take money off you. I didn't do anything wrong. I'm playing rugby league.
"It's just getting quicker and quicker and people are getting stronger and stronger - and the game keeps changing rules."
The State of Origin player also said he felt the incident involving Edwards was not serious enough to attract a charge at all, dragging Luai into the situation.
"The way Dylan went back in towards me and he kept driving his legs, I tried to let his head out but he just kept back-pedalling," Matterson said.
"I'm not going to let him back-pedal 100 metres. So I have to stop him. There wasn't much in it.
"It didn't make sense to me. At the time I thought it was definitely a penalty, but I didn't think it would go much further than that.
"Considering Jarome Luai is kicking players and he didn't get cited. It makes you think 'Where is this game heading?'"
Luai has since responded to Matterson's dig, reposting the Eels forward's comments on Instagram with three crying emojis.
Luai added the chorus of Kennyon Brown’s song 'Cry 4 You' as a background track.
Ryan Matterson under fire over staggering decision
Matterson's choice of a three-game ban instead of a $4000 fine has attracted significant criticism, with Dragons forward Aaron Woods saying it wouldn't be allowed at St George Illawarra.
“He’s just one of the tightest humans you’ll meet. I can’t believe it, there’s no way I’d miss a game, I’d pay $50,000 to play one game,” Woods said on Triple M radio.
“If he was at the Dragons he’d be in the other change room because he wouldn’t be allowed in our one, he’d be with the NSW Cup team.
“I don’t understand, some people would be dying to play an NRL game and he’s missing it for $4000."
Woods also accused Matterson of taking the Dolphins 'for a ride' so he could get a contract upgrade from Parramatta.
“Just quietly he just got a big upgrade, he took the Dolphins for a bit of a ride then came back and got a good squeeze out of Parramatta," Woods said.
"But he’s only human, we’d probably all do the same thing.”
Penrith legend Mark Geyer was gobsmacked by Matterson's decision in light of the fact the Eels are losing Papali'i and Marata Niukore for next year.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
“That’s peril for Parramatta because they’re losing Niukore, they’re losing Papali’i. They need Matterson on deck. They need to be full-strength. There might be more to it but the optics of it makes Ryan look like he loves his money a bit too much.
“He’s on about $600,000-a-year. To miss three games of footy for $4,000, I don’t get it and hope there is more to it.
"That doesn’t say much about his passion to play for the Eels. They could be 0-3 to start the Eels after three games, who knows, they need every man on deck. The optics of it don’t look really good.”
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