The involvement of team-mate Felise Kaufusi and the fact that Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s right hand was under Wayde Egan’s left arm helped convince the Match Review Committee not to charge the Storm prop over a tackle that left the Warriors hooker with broken teeth.
MRC manager Luke Patten revealed that the committee had considered whether Asofa-Solomona could be charged with a crusher, a head slam or dangerous contact and cleared him of all three offences.
While some feel the Melbourne prop should have been sent to the judiciary to determine whether he had done anything illegal after Egan left the field fearing he had broken his jaw, Patten said the MRC felt there was insufficient evidence to charge him.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted that there would be criticism of the MRC’s view that Asofa-Solomona’s forearm made “minimal contact” with Egan’s chin, but Patten said the committee had analysed the tackle in detail before making their decision.
“First of all, we identified that there was an extra player, Kaufusi, contributing to the force of the tackle, so [it was] two big men on a smaller man,” Patten said in a pre-recorded video shown at Annesley’s weekly media briefing.
“We identified that Nelson creates space so there was no crusher and no force applied to Egan’s neck here.
“There were a couple of other things that we had to clear in this tackle, firstly there was the head slam. We see that there is clear separation from Nelson’s right arm as player Egan gets thrown to the ground.
“Nelson has a good grip with his left arm but there is clear separation, whereas with a head slam you would see that arm isolate the head and really slam it into the ground. We have cleared that because his arm does separate from Egan.”
Nelson Asofa-Solomona placed on report
Patten said the MRC had also considered a dangerous contact charge but believed it had merely been a “forceful tackle” and Egan’s head had hit the ground.
Asofa-Solomona was helped by the fact his right arm had been placed across Egan’s chest, as he had his hand under the left arm of the Warriors hooker.
“As I mentioned previously, Nelson has a grip with his left arm and there is separation,” Patten said.
“On one of the angles, you can see that Nelson gets a grip under Egan’s left arm under the under arm there and we believe that Nelson’s right arm was diagonal from that grip so it was diagonally across his chest.
“There might be possible minor contact at the end of the tackle with Nelson’s forearm, possibly with the neck or chin area, but that it was only minor contact.
“It was a forceful tackle which unfortunately resulted in Egan’s head going into the ground but these were all the things we considered when we ruled that this actually incident was NFA [no further action] for us.”
Egan underwent dental work to repair two cracked teeth on Monday but Annesley said injury was only taken into account after a player had been found to have committed an offence.
The severity of the injury would be used to help determine the grading of the charge.
Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 20
“There are a range of factors that the MRC considers," Annesley said.
"They do a very forensic analysis and they take as long as is required to reach a decision and they look at things in great detail because you are talking about a very serious incident when a player gets charged.
“It either has a financial impact on a player or it means that a player misses games, so they are important matters for them to determine and they are required to look at them in great detail.”