décembre 1, 2022

NRL news 2022 | Eels star Ryan Matterson cops suspension over ban, Aaron Woods comments

3 min read

Former representative star Aaron Woods has teed off on Ryan Matterson for choosing to cop a three-game suspension rather than paying a $4000 fine after he was charged for a crusher tackle in Sunday’s NRL grand final.

Matterson on Wednesday explained his decision, arguing it was « absurd » for players to have their salaries docked for on-field incidents.

He added that he didn’t think he had done much wrong in the incident in which he was penalised for putting pressure on the head and neck of Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards. While he agreed that a penalty was warranted, the Eels back-rower said he wasn’t expecting to face a charge.

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Faced with a decision to pay a $4000 fine – an amount that equates to roughly one third of his weekly wage – or sit out the opening three rounds of Parramatta’s 2022 season, Matterson chose to cop the ban.

The simple call to keep the money in his pocket rather than pay to play copped immediate backlash, with Mark Geyer saying: « That doesn’t say much about his passion to play for the Eels … The optics of it don’t look really good. »

Eels star Ryan Matterson. (Getty)

And speaking on Triple M, Dragons front-rower Woods added to the criticism, claiming Matterson wouldn’t be allowed in the first grade dressing room at his club based on those values.

« He’s just one of the tightest humans you’ll meet. I can’t believe it, there’s no way I’d miss a game, I’d pay $50,000 to play one game, » Woods said.

« If he was at the Dragons he’d be in the other change room because he wouldn’t be allowed in our one, he’d be with the NSW Cup team.

« I don’t understand, some people would be dying to play an NRL game and he’s missing it for $4000. »

Woods also raised Matterson’s recent contract negotiations as another reason for the Eels to be disappointed with his decision to sit out games.

The back-rower was in talks with the Dolphins about a possible move to the expansion club before signing a contract extension with Parramatta.

Woods inferred that Matterson was playing the Eels to get a pay rise and never intended to leave the club.

Aaron Woods (third from right) and the Dragons look on after a Cowboys try during their round 14 loss. (Getty)

« Just quietly he just got a big upgrade, he took the Dolphins for a bit of a ride then came back and got a good squeeze out of Parramatta, » Woods said.

« But he’s only human, we’d probably all do the same thing. »

Matterson told media at the Ken Thornett Medal on Tuesday night that he had « personal things that he needed to worry about outside rugby league » in defence of his decision to cop the suspension rather than the fine.

As he explained himself, Matterson also hit out at Panthers five-eighth Larome Luai for « kicking players » in reference to a grand final incident that was scrutinised in the media but went unpunished. He expressed confusion that his crusher tackle attracted a charge while Luai’s incident, involving Isaiah Papali’i didn’t.

« It makes you think, ‘Where is this game heading?' » Matterson said.

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