Home Australia Manly calls for judicial reform as Daly Cherry-Evans faces first suspension of 14-year career

Manly calls for judicial reform as Daly Cherry-Evans faces first suspension of 14-year career

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A rugby league player looks to pass during a match.

The NRL judicial system needs an overhaul, say Manly players, as captain Daly Cherry-Evans fights to avoid the first suspension of his 14-year career.

The Sea Eagles on Monday accepted a two-man suspension for Haumole Olakau’atu but elected to try to downgrade Cherry-Evans for his role in the same tackle.

The Manly captain will appear in court on Tuesday night and will aim to argue he should only be fined $1000 for his role in the dangerous throw on Parramatta’s Shaun Lane in Friday’s clash.

If unsuccessful, Cherry-Evans’ ban will be extended to three games and will rule him out of the Magic Round against Brisbane, as well as clashes with Canberra and the Dolphins.

But Sea Eagles players are upset with how things have gotten here, and are convinced their captain should have received some sort of discount for his clean record.

In 313 games for Manly, 22 State of Origin matches for Queensland and 21 tests for Australia, Cherry-Evans faced one previous charge, in 2018, and was never suspended.

“He should definitely be given a discount,” star fullback Tom Trbojevic said.

“If someone comes in and plays their first game and it’s their first offence, they are (considered) the same as someone who has played 313 first grade games.

“One would like to think there is a certain leniency.

Cherry-Evans has never been suspended in his 14-year NRL career.(Getty Images, Cameron Spencer )

“I don’t think it’s in NRL policy, but it’s something to consider. Maybe even a 50 per cent (off) or something like that.”

Underscoring Manly’s argument, South Sydney’s Taane Milne received his fifth charge in 20 months following his cannonball entrance against Melbourne’s Cameron Munster last weekend.

But in the eyes of the justice system, he and Cherry-Evans have the same story in terms of backgrounds.

“If you’ve had ‘clear skin’ for that long, that should count for something,” Luke Brooks said.

“He didn’t intend to do it. Whereas then you see some… I’m not saying some players have the intention, but they do have a fair (size) track record.”

In the AFL earlier this month, Brisbane Lions forward Charlie Cameron was able to avoid a suspension for rough conduct based on his clean record and off-field evaluations.

Cameron had played 207 AFL games and had been fined five times.

The NRL previously had a system based on heavier charges for previous offenses and discounts for good behaviour, but it was scrapped and critics called it too confusing.

On Monday, Manly players also questioned how two players could face two-match suspensions for the same tackle.

“He deserves some kind of leniency for his good behavior,” Jake Trbojevic said.

“During the game I didn’t think it was that bad, and then there was a lot of commotion so I couldn’t really see it.

“But the two (players suspended) for two weeks seems a little strange.”

If Cherry-Evans’ ban stands, Jake Arthur is expected to come into the Manly squad at No.7.


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