AAP Rugby

We’re losing fans: Benji on NRL judiciary

By AAP Newswire

Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall has slammed the NRL judiciary, saying the game is driving away fans with its lack of consistency.

Eyebrows were raised across the game on Tuesday night when Penrith's Viliame Kikau copped a two-game ban after he was found guilty of a shoulder charge.

Kikau dropped St George Illawarra playmaker Darren Nicholls last Friday, but did try to wrap his arms around the halfback during the tackle.

The upheld charge left Panthers coach Ivan Cleary "shocked" and means Kikau will now miss two games instead of one. He was also sin-binned for the tackle.

Marshall and St George enforcer James Graham were left flabbergasted by the decision, while Canberra forward Sia Soliola believes the judiciary decision are akin to a flip of the coin.

"This is the confusion. Not long before that in this game, our fullback Matt Dufty appeared to shoulder charge one of the Penrith players which wasn't put on report and wasn't charged," Dragons forward James Graham told NRL 360.

"We're almost getting to the point where it's a bit like rugby union. If you're not wrapping those arms around then it's going to be a penalty. Do we want to get like that? I personally don't want to see it get like that."

Marshall debuted when the shoulder charge was still legal in the NRL and backed the game becoming safer, but said there had to be consistency in decisions.

"If we're tying to change this image of the game, how can that (Dufty tackle) be any different," Marshall said.

"We're losing fans and this inconsistency is contributing to that."