Pangai NRL ban 'unfair': Ofahengaue
Over the top. Unfair. Excessive.
NRL players have not held back over Tevita Pangai's five match crusher tackle ban, with Brisbane teammate Joe Ofahengaue even admitting he wasn't sure what constituted a dangerous contact charge any more.
Pangai's season might be over after unsuccessfully trying to get a downgrade for his last round hit on Penrith's James Maloney.
The Broncos enforcer on Tuesday night contested a grade two dangerous contact charge but the suspension was blown out to five weeks when found guilty due to carryover points from three different offences in the past two years.
Pangai will only play again this year if Brisbane reach the preliminary final.
"It is upsetting for everyone at the club. I think it is unfair but it is how it is," Ofahengaue said of Pangai's ban.
"He sent a message on Whatsapp saying 'sorry' but he had nothing to say sorry about; as a club we have to move on."
Ofahengaue admitted he was left scratching his head over how the match review committee came up with their gradings after the Pangai verdict.
"I don't know. I can't speak for everyone but everything happens so fast in the NRL," he said.
"You have aggressive players like Tevita and (South Sydney's) Sam Burgess who try and do something for the team but no one goes out there to try and hurt each other.
"He (Pangai) just got unlucky on that night. Old mate (Maloney) was trying to get up and Tevita fell on him."
St George Illawarra hard man James Graham also vented his frustration, slamming the judiciary over the Pangai verdict.
"It does seem excessive. I know there is loading but five weeks for that, it seems a bit over the top," he told Fox Sports' NRL 360.
"It just seems going to the judiciary is a bit of a lottery this year.
"You just don't know what you are going to get."
Asked what punishment the tackle deserved, Graham said: "Possibly a penalty was sufficient."
Wests Tigers veteran Benji Marshall even questioned whether there had been forceful contact from Pangai on Maloney.
"The reaction of Maloney makes it seem like there wasn't that much pressure on his neck - he got straight back up," he told Fox Sports.
Either way, Pangai's ban is a major blow for seventh-placed Brisbane before their finals tilt after already losing halfback Jake Turpin for two games.
Turpin took an early plea after he was charged with a grade two dangerous contact offence over a swinging arm in Brisbane's 24-12 win over the Panthers.
Brisbane have named Sean O'Sullivan at halfback in their must-win clash with South Sydney on Friday night.
"He has trained there all pre-season, he will slot straight in," Broncos No.1 Anthony Milford said of O'Sullivan's injection.
© AAP 2019