Dragons boss blasts RFL disciplinary

Catalan Dragons coach, Laurent Frayssinous has expressed his frustration at seeing back rower, Zeb Taia, suspended on Tuesday evening by the RFL disciplinary tribunal for a grade C, reckless striking with the shoulder offence on Gareth O’Brien during Saturday’s 26-6 defeat to St Helens.
Frayssinous stated “I am severely disappointed with the findings of the tribunal, this is not the first time one of our players has been suspended for a number of games after similar offences by players from other teams have seen them either escape a ban or pick up a one game ban.
“Nathan Brown stated on Saturday that Zeb Taia’s challenge was similar to that of Gareth Ellis’ against Luke Robinson four weeks ago and Scott Taylor’s against Gareth O’Brien two weeks ago.  Not only did both players escape a ban, but both played in their respective teams Challenge Cup quarter-finals and semi-finals.
“It looks like the tribunal has seen Nathan’s honest comments over the weekend and taken them into account with this ban, despite the RFL allowing the previously mentioned players play the following week after similar challenges.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time this season we have felt hard done to, Nick Scruton committed a similar challenge (on Gareth O’Brien) to Julien Bousquet earlier in the season and Bousquet was hit with a four match ban whilst Scruton got nothing.
“After speaking to a referee’s official, a member of my coaching staff was told that Zeb was not sent off or dealt with on the field because the referees on the field and the video referee were not sure about the point of contact.  In France we have more camera angles than at least four other games over a Super League weekend, the disciplinary stated after the game that after viewing the tackle it was ‘inevitable’ that Zeb hit O’Brien in the head.
“This is despite the video not showing any conclusive footage, either at full speed or frame by frame, of Zeb hitting O’Brien in the head.  The RFL are setting a dangerous precedent by giving a player a three game ban based on the term ‘inevitable’ and assistant coach, David Waite, stated after the decision that he would like this placing on the hearing minutes.
“All our sport asks for is consistency within our game, whether that is our coaching, our players performances, the refereeing decisions on the field or the disciplinary off the field and we feel we are being hit harder than most with these inconsistencies within the game.
“If I pick one team one week, and another the next week, the coaching staff, fans and chairman could not ask for a consistent performance from the players.  This is what the RFL do on a regular basis when they change the disciplinary tribunal as often as they do.
“Nathan and I spoke after the game about the inconsistencies with the tribunal and I said in the press conference that I suspected this would happen.  Unfortunately there is no consistency within the disciplinary and this is not how the process should operate.  Nobody making the tribunal decisions is accountable for their decisions, so how can there be any consistency with the decisions?
“If Zeb had admitted guilt, he would have received a two match suspension.  He (and as a club we supported him) decided to try and prove himself not guilty and he got three games.  He has an unblemished record both here, in the NRL and at international level and has never been sent off or suspended in his career.
“There is no conclusive footage of Zeb hitting O’Brien in the head, I have to wonder if after Nathan’s comments if Zeb was guilty until proved otherwise unlike what should happen where I always thought you were innocent until proven otherwise.  If there is no conclusive footage from the different camera angles, how can it be proven?”