I think where a couple of players lose their head and get a bit over-excited then a yellow card is fair enough. This is normally what happens in Origin. Wardle wasn't in a face to face fight, he just attacked Ablett (who is one of the dirtiest players in SL) but neither of the Leeds players punched back. Why should they have to take this thuggish behaviour?
Incidentally, the last time I saw a nasty fight in Origin, the player was in fact sent off - Brett White 2009.
Brett White stayed on the field, he wasn't even sin binned for the fight with White and nor should he have been. It was Waterhouse who was sent from the field for coming 3rd man in.
And that incident is a stretch because most people agree Waterhouse didn't deserve sending, that decision was daft. It was a token effort from the referee in the hopes of cooling down the Queensland team... which didn't even work. The refs lost control of the game, they were intimidated and started marching people left, right and centre. If they'd showed some composure two more fights might not have happened.
And there's been fights just as bad if not worse since. Jennings ran in what, 30 metres off his wing? Superman punched a bloke in the head and only got a sin bin, which most people were outraged over and thought as excessive! what about LOD dropping a player on his head, then getting up and headbutting and punching Dave Taylor a few times? Much worse than what Brett White did, don't even think he got a sin bin. Every year there's a fight equivelant to the one we saw on the weekend in origin and they get on with it. This week there was an almost replica incident with the Broncos McGuire against one of the Eels player, no red card.
The NRL were pretty quick to outlaw the shoulder charge in favour or safety over entertainment. So I don't buy into the 'if the Aussies aren't doing it' train of thought.
I reckon they had it right to go for safety over violence with the shoulder charge and that a Red for punching is in the same vein. The game doesn't need excessive violence and wilful damage of players, outside the laws of the game, to be entertaining. You shouldn't need to advertise players trying knock each other out to sell the sport, that's what boxing did and it has suffered a slow burning death from mainstream media because of it.
And players simply need to get over the niggle and play on, otherwise teams will exploit your short fuse as a weakness and put you off your game time after time.
Wait for the chance and get your own back. Niggle is a skill like many others in the game. It doesn't have to be dirty, but it can be mighty effective if done well.
Boxing has suffered a slow burning death because it's a ###### product not worth watching. You don't need the thumbs up from rags and mummys to have a successfull sport, you only have to look at the rise and rise and rise and rise of MMA to see that.
The point is there's no evidence that a bit of biff hurts the sport, none what soever. All the evidence runs contrary to it.
If people personally don't like it, that's a fair opinion to have. If you have children and it turns you off introducing them to the sport, that's just as valid. It's completely bogus however to say it hurts the game. That's not true and anyone saying so is discrediting themselves.