Ryan Matterson in reported backflip after $4000 move sparks uproar

Ryan Matterson celebrates an NRL try with a Parramatta Eels teammate.
Ryan Matterson has now declared he is willing to pay a $4000 fine for a crusher tackle in the NRL grand final, but will likely have to serve the three-game suspension he chose instead. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Ryan Matterson has reportedly backflipped on his refusal to pay a $4000 fine after being found guilty of a crusher tackle in the NRL grand final. The Eels forward baulked at paying the fine when it was offered earlier this year, instead preferring to accept a three-week suspension.

Matterson's original decision not to pay the fine was met with derision in the NRL world, after he posited that rule changes in the league were making it difficult for players to keep up, leading to what he claimed was an unnecessary amount of money in fines being coughed up.

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His decision to accept the suspension means he is ruled out for Parramatta's opening three games next season - key clashes against the Storm, Sharks and Sea Eagles.

However Matterson has since backflipped on his decision, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph's Phil Rothfield. The 28-year-old has reportedly offered to belatedly pay the fine, but it seems unlikely that his change of heart will sway the NRL.

The most likely outcome is that Matterson will have to serve the full three-game suspension, with the league set to stand firm on the decision he made shortly after the season. Matterson had previously doubled down on his refusal to pay the fine following the verdict back in October.

A glimmer of hope remains for him to be available for round one, with the Eels lodging an appeal with the NRL over the short 24 hour timeframe Matterson was allowed to submit a plea in the wake of the grand final.

“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," Matterson said in the days after the incident.

“It’s just getting quicker and quicker and people are getting stronger and stronger — and the game keeps changing rules.

“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."

The controversy grew after Matterson accused Penrith Panthers opponent Jarome Luai of kicking a downed Eels teammate during play, an accusation that was soon proven to be off the mark following the reveal of an additional camera angle of the incident.

Matterson's bid for NRL leniency as Angus Crichton has ban halved

While it remains to be seen whether or not Matterson's appeal will be allowed by the NRL, another key NRL star has had an early season ban of their own reduced.

Sydney Roosters second-rower Angus Crichton was handed a two-game suspension after being sin-binned for knocking out Samoa hooker Chanel Harris-Tavita with a raised forearm in the recent Rugby League World Cup grand final.

Crichton apologised to Harris-Tavita after the game, which was the former Warrior's last before taking a year out from rugby league to pursue other interests.

Angus Crichton's suspension for an inadvertent blow to the head of Samoa's Chanel Harris-Tavita at the Rugby League World Cup has been reduced from two games to one. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Angus Crichton's suspension for an inadvertent blow to the head of Samoa's Chanel Harris-Tavita at the Rugby League World Cup has been reduced from two games to one. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images) (CameraSport via Getty Images)

Crichton was charged with Grade B Reckless Striking and faced a two-match ban, to be served at the beginning of the 2023 NRL season.

But after successfully appealing his case at the judiciary, the 26-year-old accepted a downgraded Grade A charge.

He will miss only the Roosters' first game of the year which is against newcomers the Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday March 5.

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