Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has today expressed disappointment over a shoulder charge offence which has resulted in prop Ben Matulino being suspended for three games.

The club today took an early guilty plea on Matulino’s grade two charge for a tackle on St George Illawarra standoff Gareth Widdop in the 36th minute of Saturday night’s 22nd-round NRL encounter in Wellington.

Had the Vodafone Warriors contested the charge and lost, Matulino would have faced a five-game ban.

“We accept and understand what the NRL is trying to do in working to eliminate the shoulder charge from the game,” said McFadden.

“With the way the rules are now around shoulder charges we had no option but to enter an early plea in this case.

“However, our issue is that in this instance the charge and punishment doesn’t fit the crime; it’s out of proportion to the outcome of the tackle.

“Gareth Widdop was knocked over but he got up, played the ball and saw out the game. There was no contact with the head and no injury was caused yet Ben now has to miss three games.

“On the other hand there was a tackle in the previous round where a player was knocked out and still couldn’t play last week yet the player charged with the tackle didn’t miss a game.

“The NRL needs to cater for inconsistencies like this. In a case like Ben’s tackle, why doesn’t the NRL do what happens in rugby union and use the sin bin? It’s eradicated the shoulder charge out of rugby union, which is exactly what we’re after in rugby league.”

The Vodafone Warriors will be without Matulino for their next three games against Penrith, North Queensland and Wests Tigers before being available for the final regular season match against Canterbury-Bankstown.