Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo has issued a desperate plea to the NRL after being hit with a big ban for a brutal shot on Eels star Isaiah Papali’I in Friday night’s defeat to Parramatta in Townsville.
Taumalolo was sent to the bin after his shoulder slammed into the head of the Eels’ star in the first half. He was placed on report before being hit with a Grade 2 dangerous contact charge from the NRL Judiciary.
It will see him miss three games should he take an early guilty plea. If he fights the charge but fails to overturn the decision at the judiciary panel, he will be handed a four-game ban.
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The 29-year-old released a statement via his management hitting out at the current rules which mean his NRL ban carries over to the World Cup.
“I have truly missed playing for Tonga and I am concerned that this suspension will interrupt my World Cup campaign,” Taumalolo said in the statement.
“This could be my last World Cup for Tonga and I don’t want to let my teammates nor our fans down. I don’t believe I should miss out on Test matches for Tonga because of something I did playing for the Cowboys.
“I like how the (English) Premier League soccer works, where you are penalised for any indiscretion in that competition, not across other competitions.
“My suspension should count towards NRL games for the Cowboys, not penalising me for international matches at the World Cup.”
The hefty suspension is due to his previous record of on-field indiscretions, but could have been even longer, had the NRL ruled it a shoulder charge rather than a dangerous contact charge.
Taumalolo won 10 caps for New Zealand between 2014 and 2017, before swapping allegiances to Tonga prior to the last World Cup.
With stars like David Fifita following in his lead, Tonga beat New Zealand in the group stage and came close to beating England in the semi-finals.
Tonga face PNG, Wales and the Cook Islands in their group stage at next month’s tournament. Taumalolo will likely have a warm up game with France counted against his suspension, leaving him free to return against the Cook Islands.
He will now be free to play in the grand final.