Decision that's touch and go

HOT WATER: Josh Reynolds of the Bulldogs will escape a ban for tripping with an early guilty plea.
HOT WATER: Josh Reynolds of the Bulldogs will escape a ban for tripping with an early guilty plea. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

RUGBY LEAGUE: Imagine how Warriors forward Charlie Gubb feels after the NRL let Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds virtually "walk free” after he clearly tripped try-bound St George Illawarra forward Joel Thompson.

Gubb is serving a seven-week ban for a shoulder charge on Manly's Darcy Lussick, yet Reynolds - a serial tripper who needs to be given a clear message his tactic to stop rivals is not only highly dangerous but not in the spirit of the game - will play next weekend against Newcastle with an early guilty plea to a grade-one tripping charge.

I am not defending Gubb.

But I am questioning how Reynolds can escape suspension for a tactic players consider "dirty” and which was once an automatic send-off, especially when he has a long history of doing it.

If you look at replays, Thompson looks a good chance of beating the cover to the tryline until Reynolds blatantly sticks out his legs and trips him.

It's an action than could cause a serious leg injury and has no place in the game.

The referees missed the incident, otherwise it could have been a penalty try.

Given the Bulldogs won the clash 13-10, it was a defining moment which could yet cost the Dragons a place in the finals.

For Reynolds not to miss a game while Dragons forward Tyson Frizell will be suspended for his club's crucial clash with Brisbane this Thursday because he touched assistant referee Chris James while attempting to get back in the defensive line, seems grossly unfair.

I understand you can't touch a referee.

But surely the rule needs to be amended to take into account if the contact is intentional or not and whether the referee felt threatened in any way by the player.

Frizell's contact was so minor and insignificant it was missed by the commentators.

For Frizell to sit out a game for accidentally touching a referee for a split second while Reynolds plays next weekend for a blatant foul to me just doesn't seem justice.

Topics:  josh reynolds nrl judiciary sportopinion

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