New Zealand and Broncos prop Adam Blair will miss the NRL Telstra Premiership clash with the Sea Eagles after taking an early guilty plea for a dangerous contact charge in the Test against the Kangaroos. Blair was charged with dangerous contact over a tackle on Kangaroos forward and Broncos teammate Sam Thaiday in the 62nd minute, and will serve a one-game ban with an early guilty plea.
Contrary conduct during a regular season round can rub a player out of Representative contention and as we have seen, the opposite. I imagine both Brisbane and Sam Thaiday would much prefer to have the charges dropped, allowing Blair to line up beside his victim this weekend.
It raises the question should Representative infringements be served separately?
Representative Rugby League should incorporate a separate demerit system, where infringements are served in Representative fixtures and not back in the NRL, and vice versa. The current system only disadvantages clubs who have representative players. We have seen the consequences in years past where clubs have pulled players out of City Country duty, taking away the risk of injury and suspension.
I believe Representative infringements should receive larger fines, and slightly reduced points. These are the game’s elite players, they can afford a few extra dollars for a Representative infringement. This system would also reduce the bias that becomes apparent during the Origin period, so many times we have seen the games elite seemingly receive and unexplainable lower grading for an infringement in the regular competition allowing them to line up for their respective State. I firmly believe the rules do change when it comes to Origin (and International Rugby League) and the separate system would only see constant Rep offenders suspended from playing Rep footy.
A separate system would ensure the games best are always selected for Representative duties, and those that perhaps get caught in the heat of the moment during Representative fixtures do not carry the penalty back to their club team. After all it is Representative footy and the stakes and the passion are much higher.