Is this the reason Jared Waerea-Hargreaves escaped NRL suspension?

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Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, pictured here with his elbow in Zac Fulton's face.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves got off with a fine while Dale Finucane was suspended for two games. Image: Fox League/Getty

Not for the first time this year, league fans are wondering what the hell is going on with the NRL judiciary after another week of consistent inconsistency.

On Tuesday night, Cronulla's Dale Finucane was sat down for two matches following his tackle on Penrith centre Stephen Crichton.

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It was a ferocious hit which split the Penrith centre's ear, with gruesome images of the damage dominating coverage of the match.

The general consensus was the tackle belonged in the accidental head clash category, a category the on-field officials and bunker appeared to agree on after declaring play-on at the time.

The Match Review Committee, no doubt spooked by the ugly images of Crichton's ear and threats of mothers keeping kiddies away from such horrors, didn’t see it that way and charged Finucane.

You just knew he stood no chance once he decided to roll the dice at the judiciary.

Next up was Canterbury forward Corey Waddell, charged with eye-gouging Tino Fa'asuamaleaui after just about everyone else in NRL land agreed contact with the eyes was accidental.

Waddell was unsighted, so to speak, and didn’t know what he was reaching out for when he attempted to bring down the Gold Coast skipper.

His left hand did cover Fa'asuamaleaui's eyes but there was none of the digging or clawing action usually associated with a gouge.

Even NRL officials were insisting it was an accidental eye scrape at worst before the charge sheet dramatically changed the narrative.

The MRC ordered the back-rower in for a chat, charging him with dangerous contact.

Incredibly, Waddell won’t be available until the final round after copping a five-game ban.

Corey Waddell, pictured here allegedly eye-gouging Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
Corey Waddell was suspended five matches for eye-gouging Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

How did Jared Waerea-Hargreaves get off with a fine?

Finucane and Waddell are not the only ones wondering where the consistency is after Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was only fined for using his elbow as an oyster shucker on Zac Fulton's neck during Thursday night's Manly-Roosters clash.

It was a grubby, unnecessary, ugly act from a player who is hardly a cleanskin on a 20-year-old rookie in his first game.

If Finucane copped two weeks and Waddell five, surely JWH deserved at least a week to reflect on his actions.

No. He will be lighter in the pocket but allowed to play on, with the MRC perhaps seduced by the commentary around the incident.

Listening to some experts, they basically gave the Roosters prop a leave pass, putting it down as part of Fulton's rite of passage to the big time.

And here's us thinking those sorts of initiations ended around the same time high schools black-banned the flushing of Year 7 kids' heads down toilets.

It's hard not to think Finucane and Waddell paid a heavier price simply because their incidents copped more negative publicity than JWH's bully boy move.

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