RUBBED OUT: Tyson Frizell of the Dragons is tackled by Raymond Faitala-Mariner of the Bulldogs.
RUBBED OUT: Tyson Frizell of the Dragons is tackled by Raymond Faitala-Mariner of the Bulldogs. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Frizell decision lacking in common sense, says Thaiday

RUGBY LEAGUE: Joining the chorus of critics, Queensland and Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday believes the NRL is driving fans away from the game.

Thaiday yesterday slammed the decision to suspend St George Illawarra's Tyson Frizell for touching a referee.

The Dragon brushed referee Chris James while running back onside in defence during Friday's clash with the Bulldogs and is set to miss Thursday night's game with Brisbane in Wollongong due to a one-match ban.

Playing greats-turned-commentators Brad Fittler and Darren Lockyer both slammed the ban, and yesterday Thaiday said common sense had gone out the window.

Thaiday, who will return from a one-week suspension to face the Dragons, said the NRL's desire to punish players for such innocuous incidents was over the top.

"There's zero common sense in our game these days, especially when it comes to some of these calls,” Thaiday told a media conference yesterday.

"There's many incidents throughout a lot of games where referees have been brushed by, there's many incidents out there where referees are touching players as well.

"We just need to judge incidents on their merits and make sure people aren't missing games for silly little infringements like that.”

Thaiday was banned for one game three years ago for tugging on a referee's shirt to demonstrate he had had his own jersey pulled during a scrum.

His latest suspension was due to a dangerous throw on Penrith's Bryce Cartwright.

The 31-year-old said yesterday he felt responsible for Brisbane's form slump after two suspensions in short order.

He has missed three of Brisbane's past five games, including the last-start 32-16 loss to the Roosters, which dented the club's top-four hopes.

The Broncos have lost eight of their past 11 games, with Thaiday also absent in defeats to the Storm and the Bulldogs.

When asked if he felt he had let his teammates down, Thaiday replied: "Thanks for rubbing it in.

"You feel pretty bad you're not there. I hate it.”

Josh McGuire also missed the game against the Roosters last week with suspension but will make his return alongside Thaiday on Thursday night.

Combined with an injury list of Matt Gillett (shoulder), Jordan Kahu (pectoral), Kodi Nikorima (shoulder), Greg Eden (knee) and Jack Reed (shoulder), the bans had left coach Wayne Bennett with an undermanned squad.

"We've had guys in and out. We've had a few injuries (during games) and that really rattles blokes as well, playing out of position,” Thaiday said.

The Frizell decision comes on top of mystifying bunker decisions over the past week in denying tries that fans, players and commentators all believed were legitimate.

Canterbury's Josh Reynolds, meanwhile, was handed a grade-one charge for tripping Joel Thompson in Friday night's clash with the Dragons, but he will be free to play if he takes an early guilty plea.


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