Canterbury Bulldogs’ Corey Waddell referred directly to judiciary for eye gouge charge

But the NRL match review committee has charged him with an ungraded dangerous contact for the 22nd-minute altercation, in which he was accused of “scraping across the eyes” by Fa’asuamaleaui.

Both players played down the incident, but Waddell’s ungraded charge means he is facing a potentially lengthy ban given grade 3 dangerous contact typically carries a three-week suspension.

The 25-year-old’s loading from prior offenses do not come into consideration given his case is a direct judicial referral, which the match review committee has deemed beyond a grade 3 charge – the highest it can issue.

Canterbury has until midday Tuesday to enter a plea before a judiciary hearing that evening, with Waddell adamant that “once I realized [his hand] was on his face I released it.

“Obviously my hand wasn’t in the best position and once I realized it was on his face I released it,” Waddell said.

“It wasn’t intentional. I just went to get my arm over and push him on his back. He blew up a bit and I didn’t realize what he was blowing up for. I didn’t think my fingers were in his eyes or anything like that.


“I didn’t go on with the motion … My hand was in the wrong spot so a penalty was fair enough but hopefully that’s all [the match review committee] see.”

Fa’asuamaleaui complained immediately to referee Ben Cummins following the incident, but accepted after full time that the contact was not deliberate.

“It’s just footy. Sometimes your hand goes somewhere you don’t know where it is.

“It happened to be on my forehead and hit my eye, but it’s accidental.”

Finucane will also challenge a grade 3 dangerous contact charge for the heavy contact that left Penrith’s Stephen Crichton concussed and sporting a gruesome cut to his ear.

Finucane was not penalized by on-field officials for what referee Ashley Klein initially dubbed “a head clash”. The Sharks will challenge the match review committee’s charge with Nick Ghabar representing Finucane, risking a three-game ban if unsuccessful.

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