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The Chooks are in the finals…and now Slater is going as well!

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27 September 2018

There is a backlash against last night’s NRL judiciary decision to allow Billy Slater to play in Sunday’s NRL grand final between Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm.

I will try to maintain an unbiased position given that the team at Penny L ane Bar & Café (particularly chef Oscar) are Roosters faithful. We had already been grumbling straight after Melbourne’s game against Cronulla when we saw Slater’s shoulder charge on Feki.

We started saying how Melbourne would argue some mitigating fact about the tackle which would allow him to play in Sunday’s game and they certainly did!

Slater argued that he was taking evasive action to avoid dangerous contact with Feki and that his right hand was the first contact point. He said that his left hand also tried to grab Feki’s right arm. I am sure that the tackle was not malicious, but on the face of it, the tackle was a shoulder charge and Slater should have missed the final.

I feel that the decision about Slater has caused such a stir because the game which he would have missed is the grand final and because it is also his last game after an illustrious career. Some feel that this may have had some bearing on the severity if the penalty.

I was reading an article from the media frenzy regarding the response of Andrew Ackerman whose brother was killed in 2015 from a shoulder charge. The artery in his neck was ruptures when he was playing in a Queensland Cup game. Andrew spoke of the pain which he relives every time the argument about the shoulder charge is brought up again in the game.

Billy Slater’s decision has set a precedent which other players will no doubt raise when faced with the same ban arising from a shoulder charge. I don’t think that we have seen the last of the arguments arising from shoulder charges. Keep an eye out for this same kerfuffle when the 2019 season starts!

Whatever the case may be, we’re glad that Slater will be playing because we don’t want our win on Sunday night to be rationalised by Slater’s absence from the game.

The Roosters have their own dramas to deal with arising from Cronk’s injury. Will he play or will Trent Robinson play Mitch Aubusson at halfback? There is heated debate over coffee and in the kitchen at Penny Lane Bar & Cafe. I love this time of the year!!!

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