Maloney: Kikau ban ‘a gee-up’
Departing Panther James Maloney has fired a parting shot at the NRL over Penrith teammate Viliame Kikau's two-match suspension for a shoulder charge.
"What a gee-up," Maloney said. "It's rubbish at the moment - I thought it was comical he had to go and defend himself. I don't know how he got found guilty. Everyone is confused."
Kikau was put on report and sin-binned for his late hit on St George Illawarra playmaker Darren Nicholls. The Panthers were left shocked when an NRL judiciary panel found him guilty of a shoulder charge on Tuesday night.
Maloney was at a loss to explain the shoulder charge interpretation.
"After the Kiks (suspension), I've got no idea what a shoulder charge is," he said.
"He got penalised and sin-binned for a late hit, not a shoulder charge.
"But he then he got charged for a shoulder charge that wasn't a shoulder charge, I wouldn't have thought.
"I've got no idea. They have obviously brought in this rule (to protect) ballplayers which had to be brought for the times when halves were drifting across field, throwing passes and getting knocks in the back, those sort of cheap shots. They had to be ruled out."
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Maloney said the hit from Kikau, which has cost him his place in Penrith's side for Sunday's game against Canberra and the following week's clash with Canterbury, didn't fit that criteria.
"It was front-on," Kikau said.
"(Nicholls) has made a half catch and pass and Kiks, 120kg coming off the line, he can't just stop on a six pence.
"You go figure it out. If you're a coach, you have to cut own a ballplayer's time.
"I don't know if they explained it to the referees about why the rule was brought in because, now, if someone goes to the line and passes the ball and ends up on the ground, they say he has been hit late and we're going penalise him.
"You have to think common sense. Surely when you implement a rule you go and tell the people who are officiating on the rule."
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was equally bemused after the hearing.
"I didn't think it was a shoulder charge but I respect the decision and the process," Cleary said.