South Sydney players have had 31 weeks of suspensions since 2016.
South Sydney players have had 31 weeks of suspensions since 2016.

Monday Buzz: The dirtiest team in the NRL

The Melbourne Storm are not the dirtiest team in the NRL despite the avalanche of complaints about their wrestling tactics.

It's actually the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the proof is there in black and white … the statistics on foul play charges and suspensions over the past three years.

This is why your columnist was stunned that it was Rabbitohs general manager Shane Richardson attacking the Storm last week over wrestling.

People in glass houses …

South Sydney players have been banned for twice as many games as Storm players since 2016.

They have had 31 weeks of suspensions, which is double the amount of any other team in the NRL other than the Canberra Raiders.

Stories of clubs complaining about the Storm wrestling emerge this time every year on the eve of the finals. It's an ancient tactic used by opposition clubs to put pressure on the referees.

The Storm have had only one player, Suliasi Vunivalu, suspended this year for a wrestling manoeuvre, which was classified as leg pressure.

Admittedly, the NRL's match review committee stuffed up last week by not charging Storm front-rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona. He should have been rubbed out for two weeks.

It led to all the criticism of the Storm's tactics.

Anyone would think they are the only club in the game that wrestles.

Even in 1996, Immortal Bob Fulton employed a wrestling coach at Manly, former Olympian Norm Steel. This is not a slur on Bozo but rather shows how he was always ahead of the pack. It proves it's been going on for decades.

 

Rabbitohs judiciary 2017-19

Round and YearPlayerChargeGradeVerdict/Sentence
Round 3, 2017George BurgessStriking2 Guilty plea/2 weeks
Round 3, 2017Hymel HuntReckless high tackle2Guilty plea/4 weeks
Round 3, 2017Braidon BurnsShoulder charge1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 7, 2017Sam BurgessShoulder charge1Exonerated
Round 8, 2017George BurgessShoulder charge2Guilty plea/4 weeks
Round 25, 2017Zane MusgroveShoulder charge1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 25, 2017Sam BurgessCareless high tackle1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 2, 2018Sam BurgessDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 4, 2018Sam BurgessDangerous contct1Guilty at panel/2 weeks
Round 5, 2018Tevita TatolaCareless high tackle1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 7, 2018Sam BurgessCareless high tackle2Guilty plea/2 weeks
Round 7, 2018George BurgessCareless high tackle1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 12, 2018Thomas BurgessTripping1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 14, 2018Jason ClarkDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 16, 2018Jason ClarkDangerous contact1Guilty plea/1 week
Finals, 2018Greg InglisDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 2, 2019Liam KnightDangerous contact2Guilty at panel/2 weeks
Round 9, 2019Tevita TatolaCareless high tackle1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 13. 2019Thomas BurgessStriking1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 13, 2019Sam BurgessContrary Conduct1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 15, 2019George BurgessDangerous contactReferredGuilty at panel/9 weeks
Round 17, 2019Liam KnightDangerous contact2Guilty plea/2 weeks
Round 17, 2019Cameron MurrayDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 20, 2019Sam BurgessCareless high tackle1Guilty downgrade/0 weeks

 

Storm judiciary 2017-19

Round and YearPlayerChargeGradeVerdict/Sentence
Round 1, 2017Will ChambersFighting1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 1, 2017Cameron MunsterTripping1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 1, 2017Cheyse BlairDangerous Throw1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 6, 2017Will ChambersShoulder charge1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 23, 2017Suliasi VunivaluContrary contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 4, 2018Dale FinucaneDangerous contact1Guilty no contest/0 weeks
Round 4, 2018Will ChambersDangerous contact2Guilty plea/2 weeks
Round 10, 2018Cameron MunsterDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 10, 2018Josh Addo-CarrDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 10, 2018Cameron SmithDangerous contact2Guilty plea/1 week
Round 10, 2018Sam KasianoDangerous contact1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 11, 2018Curtis ScottStriking3Guilty plea/2 weeks
Round 11, 2018Nelson Asofa-SolomonaCareless high tackle1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 12, 2018Sam KasianoDangerous contact1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 23, 2018Will ChambersDangerous contact3Guilty plea/3 weeks
Finals, 2018Billy SlaterShoulder charge1Exonerated
Finals, 2018Cameron MunsterContrary conduct1 Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 4, 2019Suliasi VunivaluDangerous contact2Guilty plea/1 week
Round 5, 2019Christian WelchDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 15. 2019Jesse BromwichDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 17, 2019Christian WelchDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 18, 2019Joe StimsonDangerous contact1Guilty plea/0 weeks
Round 18, 2019Suliasi VunivaluDangerous contact1Guilty plea/1 week
Round 20, 2019Nelson Asofa-SolomonaDangerous contact1 Guilty plea/0 weeks

 

The Storm have had three crusher-tackle charges in three years.

Newcastle and the Titans have had three crusher charges each and a chicken wing in the same period. It happens right across the game.

I love watching the Storm and the breathtaking brand of football they often play.

This is the benchmark club not only in the NRL but in every football code in this country.

Interestingly, the cleanest club in the game in the past three years is the underperforming St George Illawarra Dragons. They have had only 15 players charged by the match review committee for two weeks of suspensions.

Canterbury have also been cleanskins, with four weeks lost to suspension from 15 charges.

The New Zealand Warriors have had more charges (28) than any other club.

 

Judiciary 2017-19

TeamNo. of chargesWeeks suspended
Rabbitohs2431
Raiders2023
Storm2415
Warriors2815
Roosters2614
Sea Eagles2213
Broncos2113
Titans2012
Eels1711
Cowboys1710
Panthers189
Knights177
Wests Tigers155
Sharks175
Bulldogs154
Dragons152

 

Yet no one bothers to bag them publicly because they are not going to be minor premiers or a finals threat. People like Richardson only try to bring down the great sides.

This is the same man who said it was a "tragedy" George Burgess copped nine weeks for a shocking eye-gouge on Robbie Farah.

Seriously, it's almost a tall poppy issue.

It's the same with the Sydney Roosters. They cop as much grief about their salary cap as the Storm do about their wrestling. James Tedesco, Cooper Cronk, Latrell Mitchell, Luke Keary and Boyd Cordner. They must be rorting.

It's time we appreciated the great sides rather than trying to drag them down.

 

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