Ryan Matterson facing extended ban but can pay a fine to escape sanction

Ryan Matterson has been the only player in the grand final cited by the match review committee. 

The lock has been hit with a grade one charge for a crusher tackle on Dylan Edwards in the second half of Parramatta’s 28-12 loss to Penrith.

It is Matterson’s third offence of the season, with the No.13 handed a three-match suspension if he takes the early guilty plea and four if he’s found guilty at the judiciary.

However, the NRL stated in the charge sheet that according to Rule 41C, Matterson can instead elect to enter a guilty plea and pay a $4,000 fine in lieu of the charge.

The confusing loophole the Eels’ forward can exploit is to pay an additional fine for an extra grade-one charge committed during the finals series.

The NRL’s judiciary process has come under fire all season, after it opted to start fining players rather than suspending them for what was deemed grade one offences.

Rugby League Players Association chairman Clint Newton criticised the NRL’s approach, explaining how the fine system wasn’t enough of a deterrent against foul play.

“We were part of the match review [committee] before the start of the season and we had some pretty strong comments,” Newton said, after the cannonball tackle had once again made headlines during the year.

“We were one of the only stakeholders in the game to criticise…the fine system. 

“Especially this year, with the introduction of fines for shoulder charges and crusher tackles which are arguably two of the most dangerous tackles in the game. 

“We didn’t think that players effectively buying themselves out of those situations was the right approach.”

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