OPINION: This is not what shoulder charge ban is for
BILLY Slater should only be suspended for consistency's sake, but the episode that could rob the Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australian champion fullback of a grand final swansong exposes what is wrong with the should charge ban.
Slater was penalised for a shoulder charge on a try-line bound Cronulla Sharks winger Sosaia Feki in Friday night's preliminary final at AAMI Park.
Slater stopped Feki from scoring in the game, which the Storm won 22-6, but was penalised and charged with a grade one offence.
It carries a one-game ban, which means unless Slater can beat the charge at the judiciary he will miss the grand final.
A rule is a rule, and on that basis alone Slater deserves to miss the decider. He made no attempt to tackle. I believe he braced for a collision it appears he's led with the shoulder.
I miss the shoulder charge, and I'd love to see it back in the game. My ideal scenario is if a player makes any contact to the head, they are sin-binned or sent off, and cop a five-game suspension. If it doesn't hit the head, it's fair game.
It's not perfect, but it puts the onus on the defenders and carries a significant punishment if that player gets it wrong, and avoids penalising players for what is a heavy, harmless hit.