The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Slater avoids NRL suspension

NRL superstar Billy Slater has avoided adding to a lengthy rap sheet that already features bans totalling half a season.
Slater avoids NRL suspension
by AAP

By Russell Jackson

SYDNEY, March 22 AAP - NRL superstar Billy Slater has avoided adding to a lengthy rap sheet that already features bans totalling half a season.

On Friday, the NRL Match Review Committee allowed Slater to walk after he was placed on report in Melbourne's 22-18 win over Canterbury on Thursday night.

The Melbourne fullback extended his leg which caught approaching Canterbury prop David Klemmer in the face as Slater flew through the air after catching a bomb.

Slater's mid-air boot resulted in him being placed on report on the advice from the video referee, who had described it as a suspected "act of foul play".

The NRL released a statement on Friday saying the contact from the karate-like kick was "accidental".

"Whilst on first view it was an incident of concern, the Match Review Committee found that player Slater was in the air competing for the ball when contact was made between his foot and the neck of player Klemmer, who was not contesting the ball," the NRL statement said.

"In our opinion, the contact was accidental and player Slater did not breach his duty of care. We did not view the contact as careless.

"A player from the defending team is entitled to contest the ball in the air under the assumption he will land before an opposition player attempts to tackle him."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith launched spirited defences of Slater post-match with both appearing to blame Klemmer for the incident.

"You touch him in the air, you're going to be penalised. So I'm thinking if David wasn't that close to him, he wouldn't have copped his foot," Bellamy said.

Smith said there was no reason for Slater to change his style of leading with his leg when he jumped.

"He (Klemmer) put himself in that position. He hit Bill in the air," he said.

With 75 carry-over points from an incident in the previous week's match against North Queensland, Slater would have faced a suspension if charged and found guilty.

Slater was only free to play against the Bulldogs after taking an early plea for a dangerous contact charge from the win over the Cowboys after he knocked out winger Antonio Winterstein.

The Storm fullback's list of bans has led to him being sidelined for a total of 13 weeks throughout his career, with the longest ban coming in 2006 when he kicked Wests Tigers' John Skandalis in the head.

Slater has escaped his past three judiciary charges without bans after guilty pleas, including a careless high tackle in 2010.

In the same year he was also charged with dangerous contact after a feet-first tackle which resulted a penalty try.

The Storm and Queensland star has an ally in Sydney Roosters veteran fullback Anthony Minichiello.

"I didn't think it was that bad at all. I think when you go up to try and take a bomb, you've got to try and protect yourself someway," Minichiello said on Friday.


Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories