Boom Wests Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses’ coat-hanger on Gold Coast fullback William Zillman was one of the talking points of Round 1, leaving many to ponder what constitutes a send-off offence in modern Rugby League. The fact Moses avoided suspension – especially as Parramatta forward Junior Paulo is facing nine weeks for a dangerous throw – also raised eyebrows.
Moses’ shocker followed hot on the heels of St George Illawarra winger Eto Nabuli’s spectacular clothesline on Warrington’s Kevin Penny during the World Club Series. Nabuli also avoided being sent off or suspended.
While there are more dangerous tackles in the game, it’s a worrying sign these are going unpunished – particularly when they garnered an automatic send-off during the 1980 and ’90s, an era that was nowhere near as safety-conscious as today.
Giving referees the option to use the sin-bin – as happens in rugby union – in these instances would both serve as a suitable punishment and act as a deterrent.