NRL news 2023 | Tyson Frizell penalised for hair pull on Jarome Luai, Billy Slater, Graham Annesley comments


NRL legend Billy Slater has ripped the adjudication of Saturday night’s match between Newcastle Knights and Penrith Panthers after Tyson Frizell was penalised for pulling Jarome Luai’s hair.

Frizell and Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien were deeply disappointed with the decision, with the latter branding it ‘ridiculous’ and Slater doubling down.

“What’s our game come to? It looks wrong, it looks spectacular so we’ve got to penalise it,” he said on Nine’s The Billy Slater Podcast. 

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“Back when I first started I actually had longish hair, not as long as Jarome Luai’s, but it certainly got pulled and guess what I did? I got a hair cut, that’s what you do.

“I think it was ridiculous it was a penalty – sure if there’s an intentional hair pull then fair enough penalise it (but there wasn’t).

“Tyson Frizell actually had a handful of jersey, what are you meant to do? We’ve got zero common sense at the moment.”

Plenty of support has come for Frizell in the wash up of the match, and the Knights second-rower wasn’t charged by the match review committee.

During his weekly football briefing, NRL head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley focused on the incident but offered his support for referee Peter Gough. 

Annesley provided evidence behind Gough’s perspective of the penalty, showing the angle he viewed it from which was behind the Knights’ defensive line.

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Annelsey explains hair pull decision

”I don’t know what else the referee could’ve done?,” he said.

“I get the argument about the hair is long and you’re entitled to grab a player’s jersey but this is pretty much the angle that the referee was watching the play from and that’s what the referee sees.

“There’s been 15 players in five years charged by match review committee for pulling hair, I understand the argument that it’s long hair but we can’t have a rule that says if you’ve got long hair it’s okay to pull someone’s hair.”

Annesley added he believes the referee would’ve been criticised either way if he didn’t award the penalty.

“If the referee doesn’t act on that, then there’s complaints about a player getting his hair pulled,” he said.

“The referee is in a no-win position, the referee ignores what he sees there then he’s accused of allowing a player to pull someone’s hair.”

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