The Cumberland Throw

The Spotlight – April 13, 2021: Can We Suspend The Match Review Committee?

News has just broken that Dylan Brown has taken an early guilty plea for a crusher tackle and will serve a one week suspension.

Cue my outrage!

Three short weeks ago there was a media furore surrounding Felice Kaufusi’s tackle on Ryan Matterson during the Storm’s clash with the Eels at Bankwest Stadium.

Despite immediate evidence available to match officials, Kaufusi remained on the field. With the Eels back-rower clearly concussed and forced out of the game, there was no send-off, no use of the sin bin.

Video replays provided graphic footage of Kaufusi’s use of the elbow in delivering a strike to Matterson’s head.

Since that time, Ryan Matterson has not been able to return to the field.

The punishment for Kaufusi was a grade 2 charge and a mere two weeks out of the game. He’s now returned to the field whilst Matto remains out of action.

Fast forward to this week and the match review committee responsible for deciding upon Kaufusi’s fate has farcically charged Dylan Brown for a crusher tackle. Two distinctly different tackles, but a minor difference in the grading.

The penalty, if Dylan had unsuccessfully fought the charge, would have been a two week suspension.

Is it just me or is that messed up? (NB – I had originally used an expletive here but exercised a self edit).

This may be rare for me, but I’m going to channel Paul Kent in declaring that the NRL’s values are all skewed.

Players can be dismissed to the bin for holding down in a tackle or interfering in kick chases, whilst those who deliberately take an opponent out of a game are simply placed on report.

The Kaufusi tackle – credit Fox Sports

The match review committee add their weight to the imbalance by charging those who commit unintentional offences (is the word “offence” even appropriate?) with gradings that aren’t too dissimilar to deliberate striking offences.

Let’s compare Felice Kaufusi with Dylan Brown, because depending on the plea, both tackles could have resulted in identical suspensions.

In one instance a player is seen deliberately cocking his elbow before striking his opponent. Given the rightful focus on concussion injuries, it was a tackle that brought the game into disrepute.

In the case of Dylan Brown, a player making a standard ball and all tackle is locked into the contact by a team mate as all players fall to the turf. It was obvious that there was no intent to apply pressure to the neck of Tyrell Fuimaono.

Truthfully, I couldn’t recall the tackle and had to search for it after the charge was announced.

It was as innocuous as I suspected.

Dylan’s tackle – image credit Fox Sports

Dylan should have challenged the charge, but given the Eels history at the judiciary, they’d likely be without his services for two weeks. The same outcome as Kaufusi.

Though there is a bias in my opinion, I’d suggest that all NRL supporters should be concerned about the suspensions handed down to both players. The match review committee could go through every match with a fine tooth comb and find multiple incidences of similar “crusher” tackles.

However, when crushers are applied deliberately (which is thankfully rare) or carelessly, the positioning and movements of the defender are obvious. Such offences must be punished, and heavily so, just as Kaufusi’s use of the elbow should have been.

Rugby League is a contact sport that involves multiple defenders stopping ball runners. The game can be made safer by applying heavier penalties to those who commit deliberate illegal tackles, but you can’t eliminate accidental injuries.

It’s time for a complete revamp of the match review committee and the charges available to them.

The NRL can ill afford to have striking incidents which bring the game into disrepute adjudged similarly to unremarkably tackles which result in unintended or unavoidable contact.


Eels forever!





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Big Derek

Very difficult to understand now Dylan was charged at all, Fuimiano got up , never held his neck and the game went on with no one concerned. Definitely not deliberate, dangerous or intentional. Like probably 99% of those in attendance or watching on tv, never resonated even as a minor indiscretion. Now compare that to Kaufusi on Matterson,and dare we refer to Fifita on Frawley in reserve grade which was intentional, late, high and a stiff arm- the MRC gave a fine for what could have been labelled a send off in NRL. Consistently inconsistent and at times seeming to… Read more »

Big roy

The committee is it , atkins , perenara and klien 😇😇😇

Colin Hussey

Way I see the nrl & the said committee and their competence, is like a baby learning to suck a dummy without losing it.


Someone had to say it Sixties. I was scratching my head when I heard DBrown had been charged. I vaguely recall not so much the incident but a tackle on a Dragon player who stood up grabbing his neck, but I also recall 2 identical incidents of Parra players doing exactly the same. I’m confident that it was Gutho and Moses and in the 1st half as they were almost in front of our seats. But similarly, there was no on field response. Have any Dragons been rubbed out for next week? As you have stated, it’s an absolute farce… Read more »


Why don’t they review the tackle on Gutho in the very first set. It’s clearly beyond horizontal, the final force is spearing into the ground, only Gutho twisting to take the impact on his shoulder made it less dangerous. Intentional,careless,dangerous. Neck injury more likely than Dylan’s tackle, there was nothing soft or avoiding from Ravalawa. WTF?


In my opinion the nrl is an organisation that operates in response to media outrage and or the influence of certain powerbroakers. I know he apologised but just think that Dylan Brown gets one week with no threat of injury and Christian Welch very well could have caused serious injury to Papali’i with a deliberate leg twist and gets a fine. They don’t even try to hide the bias. What would Nathan Brown have received if he did an elbow on Papenheuzen as Kaufusi did on Matterson? It starts at the top- Mr Vlandy’s. His focus is to please the… Read more »

Colin Hussey

Totally agree sixties. Rather than RL, its now gone back to the old RW game styles that were called in past games when sarcasm towards RL was had, RW = Running Wrestling.

For me, I am getting more and more disenchanted with the way the game and officialdom is heading.

Longfin Eel

I think that part of the problem is the confusing way rugby league and the NRL are run. Surely as an elite competition the NRL should be able to trial new rules on their own device and not be beholden to the whims of the ALRC Chairman? I’d like to see more of Andrew Abdo and what he has to say about this crisis. In the end it is his competition. It actually seems to be whoever has the biggest ego out of NRL CEO and ARLC Chairman who runs the game. It used to be run by Todd Greenburg,… Read more »


I’m sure if we had challenged the crusher tackle by Dylan at the judiciary we would of won. Even if we lost Dylan misses the trip to
Darwin against the Broncos and does not have any loading.
The roosters hooker was cleared for the same grading at the judiciary tonight.

It seems Parra will not back their players and roll over!

Big Derek

Face the reality that it was a Roosters player that got off, guilt trip with no hooker availability and the judiciary appeal board wanting to keep their job when making a decision involving Rooters/Uncle Nick/Gus teams player.

Yes, sarcastic but not unwarranted.


I would of risked the second week of the suspension.
Do you know if it is the players decision or the clubs in consultation with the player?

Darren from Bensville

I think the early guilty plea opens the culprit up to a Jarrod McCraken vs Stephen Kearney and Marcus Bai type damages claim. For example, lets say (and heaven forbid it doesn’t) that Matto’s ongoing concussion issues following Kaufusi’s hit, force an early retirement. You would only have to go to court to determine how much Melbourne Storms insurers have to fork out as Kaufusi has already admitted guilt. I just feel players are leaving themselves open for future legal action by taking early pleas.

Big roy

Agree , The future a i see it ,a litigation lawyers dream come true , its coming ive been saying it for years .


Agreed again Craig- its become a joke and has been for years. I am so angry again at these puppets…


Good to see you remained calm…

goodnight gimbob

It was unfortunate but in my opinion the dragons player was in a dangerous position, and while it may not be Dylan’s fault as another eels player was pushing into him, I think one week is sufficient.

Anyway I think Dylan needs a break as the eels have been making too many tackles after not controlling the ball well enough. There’s no way Fergo can be resigned and Lane needs to be benched


Where do they get all these ref’s and officials ? The Pusillanimous Ponce Parlour at Paddington , that’s where. They all shit me, they ruin the game.

goodnight gimbob



I’m sorry but the club needs to stand up to this (most probably at an administrative level) , we can procrastinate for ever about the injustice, but someone needs to be accountable within the NRL structure. The incidents that took place in this particular game were of a nature that the NRL needs to be concerned. The blatant use (and exploitation) of the six again rule, the overuling by the bunker when the referee had made his decision on the Gutherson try and also the bunker being in involved in the Cartright challenge by them upholding the challenge and then… Read more »

Longfin Eel

The problem the NRL have is that they likely apply a standard grade to a certain type of tackle. Yes a crusher tackle could potentially be worse that a cocked elbow that happens to hit the opponent, but in reality as we have seen, there are vastly different circumstances in each instance. The NRL need to implement a score for intent, as well as injury caused directly from the tackle. Surely the object should be to limit injury to players. In the end they are professional players and should not have to expect to get injuries from foul play. Accidents… Read more »

John Eel

I understand that the judge Paul Conlon has shown some interest in looking at this matter of inconsistencies and fairness

Is there anyone better?


Yeah I think the trouble definitely stems from players backing into tackles. They do this so they don’t land on their back, basically looking for a quick play the ball. Certainly the match review committee needs to take all that into consideration. In the case of Dylan Brown this would have resulted in low score as there was no intent to injure, and the tackled player backed into the tackle.


This situation reminds me of trying get right with an unhappy customer. The more you try the worse it gets with no outcome in sight. Dylan Brown should have appealed but, Parra does not have a happy record with appeals. Here is the simple answer for deliberate fouls that take a player out of the game. Take as an example Kaufusi – it was a deliberate hit to the head. Punishment – the offender does not return until the injured player is fit to resume playing. That is so simple it’s ridiculous. Foul play will almost vanish overnight if that… Read more »

Brelogail St Boy

Good on you sixties ! It’s a farce. And Dylan is hitting his straps. I’m really impressed with him. Hope t6his has no confidence issues for him.


Dylan Brown had no case to answer to, imo. In the case of Kaufusi on Matterson where it was completely intentional, and causes harm to a player, It should be a minimum of 8 weeks. This should start from the time the injured player is able to play again. Example, Kaufusi copes 8 weeks, Matterson is off for 6 weeks, Kaufusi doesn’t play for the 6 weeks Matterson is off and then starts his 8 week suspension. {14 weeks in total} If Matterson is off for 12 weeks, then Kaufusi’s suspension is automatically increased to 12 weeks which starts when… Read more »

Colin Hussey

I stand by what is had said previously sixties and a few have also taken up that point. But, would make the following changes In the case of a player being taken from the field owing to a head shot, then the player who was the offender in the tackle also goes off for the same length of time, if the concussed player does not return to the game, then the player who caused the problem should also be deemed as being sent off, and no replacement for him. The offending player should be brought before the Match Committee, and… Read more »

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