Refs need to get tough and bring back the send-off
MANLY enforcer Martin Taupau should have been sent off for his sickening stiff arm on Parramatta rookie Ray Stone last weekend.
He should then have been suspended for at least three matches.
That is the expert opinion of former leading referee and NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum after the laughable punishment dished out for a tackle labelled "one of the worst we have seen in a long time".
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Taupau was hit with a grade-three careless high tackle charge and will miss just one match after taking the early guilty plea. It comes as South Sydney forward Sam Burgess also faces a one-week ban for a hair pull, prompting some observers to call for a complete overhaul of the judiciary process.
McCallum was adamant the Taupau incident was "reckless" because "from my experience people don't get knocked out by being hit in a careless tackle".
He also said Canberra forward Hudson Young should be banned for between 12 to 14 matches for his alleged eye-gouge on young Warriors centre Adam Pompey. Young has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
As fallout continues from another round of judicial inconsistencies, there are growing calls for an overhaul of the match review committee at the end of the season.
Many good judges within the game believe McCallum is the man who should be brought back to take charge.
Fox Sports commentators Brett Finch and Braith Anasta had no doubt Taupau should have been dismissed and not just sin-binned.
The Sam Burgess case sums up the farcical nature of the judiciary process.
The South Sydney hardman has accepted a one-match ban for pulling the hair of Roosters rookie Billy Smith last Thursday night but recently escaped suspension for knocking out Cronulla's Matt Moylan in an incident McCallum likened to Taupau's high shot.
"I equate it very similar to the Sam Burgess tackle on Moylan, which I thought was a reckless tackle as well," McCallum said.
"He should have been sent off because that bloke (Stone) gets knocked out of the game.
"So why should he come back onto the field when the other guy is not? It has to change.
"Whoever is running the show next year, we have to have a system where players involved in incidents like that are sent from the field."
Asked why he believed referees were now gun shy about sending off players, McCallum said: "I think it is a historic thing now. It has been the system for the last 10 years of not sending players off and it is now in their DNA not to do it."
Canberra's Nick Cotric is the only player who has been sent off this year, for a spear tackle on St George Illawarra's Tim Lafai.
McCallum also said Taupau's one-match ban did not send the right message or deterrent.
"Careless tackles are for minor contact," McCallum said. "They can look spectacular.
"But reckless tackles generally have a high level of force and they generally make contact with the side of the chin or the side of the face, hence players getting knocked out."
Young should receive a long spell on the sideline for his alleged eye-gouge following a similar incident this year involving Canterbury prop Aiden Tolman.
"I reckon it is a 12 to 14 (match suspension)," McCallum said.
"It is his second offence in the one year. You have to have a deterrent in there and the game doesn't do that often. That is why you get repeat offenders."