JAMIE PEACOCK was this week charged with Grade B punching during Leeds Rhinos’ Tetley’s Challenge Cup win over Leigh Centurions.
That was controversial, given that – for example – Castleford’s Justin Carney had faced a Grade C charge a few weeks earlier, while other players have been graded A for punching.
The tariff for a Grade B charge is a ban of one to two matches. Peacock could have submitted an early guilty plea and been suspended for one game, but opted to state his case before the committee.
Despite pleading guilty, he was was not banned. Peacock was probably aided by the fact Leigh’s Matt Sarsfield, the aggressor in the original incident, was not charged, which was a bizarre decision by the match review panel.
The disciplinary committee took into account Peacock’s previous exemplary record and the fact he was provoked. Surely that’s fair enough for a player with 15 years’ experience in the heat of battle. However, once again the case has fueled claims the system favours certain players and particular clubs. Disciplinary verdicts seem to spark more anti-RFL sentiment than anything else and – for the sake of its own image – the governing body has to find a way of making the process more open and accountable.