Sharks' Douglas set to escape NRL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks' Douglas set to escape NRL ban

31/08/2009 04:46:57 PM Comments (0)

It wasn't quite the apology he was after, but Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart was certainly vindicated for attacking the sending off of Sharks prop Luke Douglas on Sunday.

The Sharks mentor was furious after the decision by Phil Haines to give Douglas his marching orders and referees boss Robert Finch admitted on Monday the referee had overreacted.

Douglas was on Monday charged with a grade one careless high tackle for his 26th-minute hit on Manly backrower Chris Bailey, but can escape suspension with an early guilty plea.

NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum admitted the harsh decision to send off Douglas had impacted the penalty imposed on the Cronulla forward.

Stuart was livid after his 12-man side held on until the final minute before eventually going down 18-16 at Brookvale Oval thanks to a last gasp Ben Farrar try.

While Finch admitted Haines got it wrong in sending off Douglas, he rejected claims from Stuart that the incident had set the precedent for what warranted a send-off ahead of the upcoming finals series.

"It was a harsh decision in the circumstances and you can understand the Sharks being upset," said Finch, who admitted the tackle should have been penalised and the incident placed on report.

"I respect the fact that Phil Haines is prepared to make decisions but we also have to accept when they are wrong.

"He's a good referee who will learn from the experience and this won't have any impact on future decisions by other referees.

"Send-offs remain there for an important reason and if the referee has a clear view of an illegal act that warrants a send-off then he should use the send-off rule.

"If he is in doubt as to either the circumstances or severity of the offence then he has the option of placing a player on report."

Finch also cleared the other officials in the game of any blame, saying video referee Phil Cooley had suggested the tackle be placed on report.

McCallum admitted the penalty imposed on the Sharks in having to play almost three quarters of the match with only 12 men on the field had impacted the decision to impose only a grade one charge.

"The code allows for consideration to be taken into any lost time that has had by a player being dismissed and yes it did play a part in the grading."

"It certainly was taken into account."

The Sharks have until midday Tuesday to decide whether to contest the charge, with Douglas facing a one match ban if he unsuccessfully fights the charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Two other players were also charged, though neither Colin Best nor James Tamou are facing suspension.

South Sydney centre Best was charged with grade one tripping and North Queensland forward Tamou a grade one careless high tackle charge.

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