Why ‘pathetic’ NRL got these bans badly wrong

Mark Levy is the host of 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio show. Tune in from 6pm-7pm, Monday to Thursday!

The ugly side of the National Rugby League reared its head over the weekend and the response from the match review committee has been absolutely pathetic.

Joey Leilua and Addin Fonua-Blake should have been rubbed out for the rest of the season.

Leilua has become a liability for the Wests Tigers, with coach Michael Maguire admitting the centre needs to change. 

The 28 year-old will serve a four-match suspension for his off-the-ball tackle on Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards.

It’s being described as a “dog shot” and needs to be stamped out of the game because if the same thing happened at a pub or club over the weekend, you’d be in handcuffs answering a very serious charge in court.

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Leilua has a chequered history with the NRL match review committee after being hit with seven charges over the course of the last eight seasons, including dangerous throws, shoulder charges, fighting, dangerous contact and dropping knees.

The Wests Tigers centre has already spent seven weeks on the sidelines and Leilua should buy himself a lottery ticket considering he’ll only be adding another four weeks to his tally for the sickening shot on Edwards.

The NRL was presented with an opportunity to take a stand against these dangerous and illegal tackles, but instead hit Leilua with a feather.

A four-week suspension is definitely NOT a suspension that fits the crime.

Joey Leilua is confronted by Panthers players after decking Dylan Edwards. (Getty)

You’ve then got a player like Addin Fonua-Blake, who should really start practicing what he preaches. 

The Manly prop was sent-off for dissent in the loss to Newcastle after directing some disgraceful language and slurs towards referee Grant Atkins.

Fonua-Blake shouted, “You’re a f—ing retard”, and waited in the tunnel to have another go.

It’s my information the 24 year-old continued his attack in front of NRL and club officials, shouting, “You guys have your eyes f—ing painted on, you bunch of spastics.”

Fonua-Blake has since apologised, saying, “I should not have let my emotions get the better of me and I am very sorry for the comments I made. I’d also like to offer my sincere apologies to anyone offended by the regrettable language”.

Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake is sent off by referee Grant Atkins. (Nine)

Fonua-Blake will serve a two-match suspension with an early guilty plea, when the league should have imposed a punishment to deter players from treating referees with contempt.

The integrity of the match officials is paramount and I refuse to accept the idea of cutting him some slack because it was in the heat of the moment. 

Everyone is entitled to let off some steam, but not when you’re waiting in the tunnel to have a second go.

Addin Fonua-Blake and Joey Leilua are professional athletes who are supposed to be role models in the community, but their actions over the weekend were disgraceful.

Even worse is the lack of action from the match review committee, which has proven yet again it’s incapable of imposing a penalty to reflect the seriousness of the offence.

It’s time for the NRL to wake up and start severely punishing these acts of foul play.

**Do you agree? Let me know what you think by emailing the ‘Wide World of Sports’ Radio Show here.

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