Osborne 'surprised' Slater was cleared - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Osborne 'surprised' Slater was cleared

By Ben Horne 07/06/2010 06:59:35 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta CEO Paul Osborne admits he is surprised the NRL's match review committee charged Jarryd Hayne but cleared Melbourne's Billy Slater after their spiteful clashes last Friday.

Hayne was charged with a grade one striking offence for headbutting Slater and is now in danger of missing State of Origin II, while the Storm No.1 was cleared of wrongdoing on three separate incidents.

The star fullbacks came together on several occasions as their rivalry erupted at Parramatta Stadium, and are rumoured to have also engaged in a verbal battle throughout the 80 minutes.

Many expected Slater to also have a case to answer after he appeared to strike out at Hayne's head with his forearm.

Osborne didn't think there was much in Hayne's headbutt or Slater's forearm, and can't believe one is up and not the other.

"I thought Jarryd would (get charged) but I'm still a little surprised I'd have to admit. I thought it was pretty innocuous," said Osborne.

"I was (surprised Slater was cleared) but I'm more interested in Jarryd than Billy.

"I thought they were both as bad as one another in relation to what happened. I didn't think either was really a heinous crime but I equally thought if one was going to go they both would have, but obviously the judiciary saw it differently."

Match review commissioner Greg McCullum revealed three incidents involving Slater were examined.

The committee decided Hayne performed a "mild grapple" tackle on Slater which sparked the headbutt - and Slater wasn't the aggressor in the subsequent punch up.

There was another incident where Slater appeared to slide into Hayne with his knees, however McCullum said the Storm custodian was cleared after extra television angles showed he was trying to dislodge the ball and didn't make contact with Hayne.

McCullum acknowledged there was intent from Slater when he attempted to strike Hayne with a loose forearm but the committee determined there was no contact made.

"Had he made contact it certainly would have been a different story," said McCullum.

"He appears to attempt to strike Jarryd with his forearm but doesn't make contact with him ... his arm actually hits the ground and not Jarryd Hayne's head so there were no charges there."

Osborne will meet with defence lawyer Geoff Bellew on Monday night to determine how the club will fight Hayne's charge.

The Eels will seek advice from Bellew about whether they should challenge the charge - however it's expected they will plead their innocence with Hayne set to miss a match whether he takes the early guilty plea or is found guilty.

In 2007, Bellew successfully defended Manly centre Steve Matai of a grade one contrary conduct charge when he was accused of headbutting Chris Heighington.

Parramatta are likely to argue Hayne's headbutt wasn't aggressive enough to warrant him missing a match, let alone an Origin fixture.

"We're going to have a meeting with Geoff Bellew tonight after he's finished in court and get some advice from him on it," Osborne told AAP.

"I have (reviewed the headbutt) but I'm no expert. I've had a couple of chats to Geoff but I'm not 100 per cent sure which way it's going to go.

"I couldn't say at this point (how confident the Eels are of success), it's obviously a big call with Origin."

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