Morris backs judiciary fine system
In the wake of a spate of charges being handed down for shoulder charges, three of which will be challenged at the judiciary, Bulldogs centre Josh Morris says he thinks it's time for the NRL to consider a fine system such as that in place in the AFL to avoid players missing big games for low-range offences.
An overview of the AFL's match review process last year means players charged with a low-range offence now attract fines rather than demerit points which increase in value for the first three offences, resulting in fewer players missing matches for relatively minor offences.
Morris said the idea had been discussed by Blues players during the Origin series and was gaining momentum among the Bulldogs playing group.
He said it is sad seeing players miss an Origin or finals match for a low-range offence purely as a result of grading, as was the case with Rabbitohs hooker Issac Luke in last year's grand final.
"I think that's what we need to look at as a players' group," Morris said.
"The AFL has something where if you get a grade one you can pay a fine and play the next week so if something like this [increase in shoulder charge suspensions] is going to have to happen changes need to be brought into that system where if you are getting a grade one and likely to miss a match then you can pay a fine and play the next week because you wouldn't want to see anyone miss a grand final over something like that.
"It's something we spoke about in the Origin camp and it's something moving forward I think is a viable option. You don't want to see anyone missing big games because of something silly."
He said there was confusion currently among players about what will incur a shoulder charge citation.
"At the moment you just don't know how they're going to charge it either. It's something we need to look at as a playing group and as a whole league and maybe implement these changes," he said.
"I've got no idea what [a shoulder charge] is at the moment. The Willie Mason one I don't even think he led with his shoulder, he kind of just gave him a chest bump with his hands up so his arms weren't wrapped around the player.
"I've got no idea how we're going to adjudicate what a shoulder charge is from now on but if players are silly enough to try and put one on well then they're going to be sitting down. I guess players will have to use their arms to wrap around and make a tackle or otherwise anything else will be deemed as a shoulder charge."
He said after discussing it during Origin Bulldogs players had brought the conversation back to their club.
"I think it's gained a bit of momentum here. I'm not sure if the other boys have talked about it at their respective clubs but it's certainly something to look at with the way the game's going."
Issac Luke, Aidan Guerra and Jorge Taufua will each attempt to have shoulder charges exonerated at the judiciary on Wednesday night.
This article first appeared on NRL.com