Malicious in the dictionary means, to have a desire or intent to harm.
Misi Taulapapa made a tackle on Alan Tongue last weekend which has been described as malicious. Now whilst it is impossible to determine whether any person has intent to severely hurt someone, we can ascertain whether someone has comitted an illegal act on the field or not.
The NRL judiciary has gone mad with their definitions and gradings of infringements. It is about time they fell back to whether something broke the laws or not first and foremost.
Taulapapa's tackle on Tongue was deliberate. The fact Taulapap had his head down and effected the tackle, even grabbing hold of Tongue to help effect the tackle, makes it very clear that the tackle was intentional.
Tongue was not in possession of the ball when he was tackled by Taulapapa. Therefore, the tackle was illegal. Instant penalty. The referee got that much right. The fact the tackle has injured Tongue when he was not involved with the play when he was tackled, makes the incident negligent and intentional.
That, in NRL rules is more than enough to confirm maliciousness. Now whilst I understand that many players are tackled without the ball every week, it could be argued that almost all of those players being tackled are about to, or looking to, get involved.
Much like the Craig Wing incident earlier in the year, this incident is malicious. Both offenders should be ruled out of the game for as long as their victim is sidelined for. That's the only way to determine what is a fair punishment.
However, the Judiciary system is far too inconsistent. Mat Rogers copped a suspension for a tackle that was barely illegal, yet Taulapapa can hit Alan Tongue and break his ribs, ruling him out for up to 5 weeks and suffer no repurcussions.
It's almost the punchline to a really stupid joke.
Unfortunately, this joke is reality.