The NRL is under pressure to get tough on tripping after the recent spate of ugly incidents continued with two more players charged by the match review committee on Monday.
Canterbury’s Tim Browne and Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona were the latest players cited for striking at the opposition’s legs but neither will miss a match with an early guilty plea.
With one game left to play in round seven, six players have been charged with tripping this year, including four over the previous fortnight.
The week prior Manly five-eighth Dylan Walker and St George Illawarra’s Gareth Widdop were both cited for grade one tripping offences.
Neither Browne nor Asofa-Solomona were sin-binned for throwing the leg out and both will be available to play this weekend due to a grade one charge only carrying 56 penalty points with an early guilty plea.
Even with 60 per cent loading because of three prior non-similar offence, Asofa-Solomona will escape time on the sideline if he accepts the charge.
Of the six players charged this year, only Marika Koroibete has spent time on the sidelines and that was because of carryover points.
Asofa-Solomona’s trip on Mitchell Moses in the Storm’s golden point 19-18 win over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday raised the ire of Peter Sterling, Brad Fittler and Phil Gould on the Nine Network commentary.
Sterling and Fittler both said tripping should be a send-off offence and called on the NRL to come down hard to drive it out of the game.
Fittler described it as an act of cowardice: “When I came through, tripping was the worst thing you could do behind eye-gouging … It was always a send off.”
While Sterling was left to wonder why it no longer resulted in players being automatically marched from the field.
“You break someone’s leg, or something like that,” Sterling said.
“I’ve been amazed. We had two on charges last weekend, we’ve had Koroibete miss a game on it. It’s not a fatigue factor because in those instances … it wasn’t late in the game.”
Meanwhile Newcastle’s Pauli Pauli is set to be rubbed out for a week after being charged for a high tackle on Brisbane’s Joe Ofahengaue.
Pauli was on Monday hit with a grade two careless high tackle charge and must fight the citation if he is to be any chance of taking on Manly on Anzac Day.
South Sydney centre Hymel Hunt will be available to take on Brisbane on Friday night despite being cited for a high tackle on North Queensland’s Gavin Cooper.