'Boof' cops ban
DISGRUNTLED Gold Coast coach John Cartwright said the NRL judiciary was rubbing players out too quickly after his Test forward Anthony Laffranchi was suspended for one match for striking.
'Boof' Laffranchi, who started for Australia against New Zealand last week, pleaded not guilty to striking Newcastle's Mark Taufua with a forearm to the head in the 21st minute of last Sunday's game.
But it took the judiciary panel of Don McKinnon, Brad Clyde and Sean Garlick less than 10 minutes last night to reach a guilty verdict.
Laffranchi, who also picked up 50 carry over points, will miss the Titans' big Queensland derby clash with the Broncos tomorrow night.
A disappointed Cartwright felt there wasn't much in the incident and the judiciary was taking the best players out of the game.
“I just think it's sad they're rubbing players out of the game as quickly as we are these days,” Cartwright said.
Asked to elaborate on his initial comment on players being rubbed out too quickly, Cartwright said: “I think we've cleaned up the game to the point where we don't have to worry about losing our heads when we run onto the field.
“I think for me, what Anthony did, he may have got him a bit high, yes it was accidental, but we've got to stop taking our best players off the field for incidents like that.
“To me, there wasn't a lot in it.”
Cartwright said he hadn't given any thought yet to who might replace Laffranchi in the team this week.
“It's a huge blow. They are taking our best players out of the game at a time when they should be on the field,” Cartwright said.
Laffranchi's counsel Geoff Bellew had argued it was imposing an unrealistic standard to suggest Laffranchi had been reckless in his action toward Taufua as he would have had less than a second to react after losing his grip on the player.
Laffranchi said he attempted to make a ball-and-all tackle and was trying to put Taufua on the ground and his initial contact with the Knights forward had been with his shoulder and right arm.
He told the panel he had lost his grip with his right hand and had no intention of striking Taufua with his forearm or elbow.