- Player was referred directly to the judiciary
- NRL fans and commentators were left amazed
- Continue the tradition of major bans in Super League
Rugby League fans and commentators have been left stunned after former NRL pro Paul Vaughan was handed the harshest penalties for an innocent incident, while a teammate was barely punished for a high tackle.
Vaughan, who sparked controversy during his time in Australia by hosting a barbecue for St George Illawarra teammates during the COVID pandemic, is in hot water again.
This time, however, the punishment does not fit the crime.
The former New South Wales Blues representative faces up to six weeks on the sidelines for pulling an opponent’s shirt.
Vaughan played for Warrington Wolves in the English Super League and tried to pull St. Helens player Sione Mata’utia to his feet after a tackle on Saturday.
The incident has been referred directly to the judiciary as a Grade E charge, meaning Vaughan could be ruled out for four to six weeks, potentially ending the 32-year-old’s season.
NRL commentator Andrew Voss couldn’t believe the severity of the potential punishment, writing: “This charge is a joke…for sure!”
Vaughan played for the Dragons and Bulldogs (pictured) in the NRL before moving to the Warrington Wolves in the English Super League
Footy fans are baffled by the fact Vaughan could be handed a six-week ban for pulling an opponent’s jersey (pictured)
The decision also confused many football fans.
‘Do I miss something?’ someone asked.
“I really don’t understand what the charges are for,” wrote another.
Others pointed out that the rule was introduced to protect injured players, especially those with possible spinal damage.
‘Don’t touch a player on the ground. Just don’t do it. What if he has a neck or spine injury, just don’t do it. They’ve been consistent with this for a few years now, so it’s no shock,” one fan said.
However, what made the assessment even more puzzling was the fact that Warrington teammate Thomas Mikaele escaped with a slap on the wrist for a dangerous high tackle.
He was only fined $500 and will be eligible for selection against the Huddersfield Giants this week.
Josh McGuire was suspended for a total of 19 games in one season for fouling the same opponent twice.
Corey Norman (pictured in white) was handed a major ban for sticking his fingers in the backs of opponents
The English Super League has a history of handing out long penalty kicks.
Former NRL enforcer Josh McGuire was handed a seven-week ban for using a disgusting slur against an opponent during a trial match this year.
He was also fined $1,750 and ordered to attend compulsory education.
That education didn’t work, however, as McGuire was given a 12-week ban in June for the same offense against the same opposition.
Toulouse five-eighth and former Brisbane and Parramatta star Corey Norman was also handed an eight-match ban in 2022 for sticking his fingers in the backs of opponents.