Bans for violent conduct and match official abuse in the Northern NSW NPL left many scratching or shaking their head last week.
Olympic skipper Kyle Hodges copped three matches for "repeated use of offensive language and/or gestures" under match official abuse guidelines. The two games added to his automatic one-match ban means Hodges will miss basically a quarter of the shortened, 13-round regular season.
Many would accept the Hodges sanction, or even welcome it, given the amount of referees lost to the game through abuse. But when compared to penalties dished out for violent conduct, it looks heavy handed.
Also in round two, Jaffas player Luke Remington was sent off for a swinging arm to the back of Zac Sneddon's head from behind. The out-of-character reaction to a challenge knocked Sneddon to the ground and led to players pushing and shoving. Sneddon was taken off but he escaped serious injury.
Remington got just one match - one less than Hodges - added to his automatic ban. His action was deemed "violent conduct and/or attempted violent conduct".
If deemed serious violent conduct, he gets at least three weeks. If it causes bodily harm or responsibility for a melee, he gets at least four. If it causes or has the potential to cause serious injury, the minimum is five.
It can be argued the strike fits all categories, especially "the potential to cause serious injury". Same goes for the headbutt of Edgeworth's Oliver Smith last year. He got one week more.
Deterring referee abuse is important, but is it more important than deterring physical violence?