Bans happen frequently in rugby league with the game being as physical as they come however some bans don’t always seem to fit the crime and vice versa with fans often left bemused by disciplinary decisions.
A recent example was of Angus Crichton’s use of the elbow in the World Cup final, something he received a one-game ban for but a ban that can be served during pre-season meaning he won’t miss any significant playing time.
One man who is still serving a ban and is set to miss playing, watching and coaching time is Matt Nean who was banned for 20 years following an altercation with a referee in 2016 meaning he isn’t eligible to partake in anything rugby related until 2036.
Nean has been trying to appeal his ban which he received following a Group 4 grand final when he made contact with the referee.
— Angus Thomson (@angusthomson_) December 15, 2022
The incident in question can be seen in the above tweet and it could be said that Nean has every right to call the ban a “joke” given it seems a rather insignifcant incident however having received a ban the year prior Nean was viewed as a ‘repeat offender’, upon his appeal, which is what contributed to the huge charge.
Initially given a huge 18-week suspension, Nean appealed as mentioned above, but was found guilty of the offence and therefore handed the monster 20-year ban, which has now prevented him from attending to watch his children play.
At the time of the appeal in 2016, Country Rugby League boss Terry Quinn and the court, ruled against Nean, after he’d pleaded not guilty.
Quinn said: “There is an absolute zero tolerance through the game at all levels for this sort of offence, whether it be physical contact or verbal abuse of our match officials.
“In the case of Matt Nean, you are talking about a repeat offender who had only just returned from serving a long suspension for a similar offence.
“It is indefensible conduct that deserves the harshest of penalties.”
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Nean revealed the issues he now faces.
“I go to watch a game and just get settled in, put sunscreen on the kids and everything, and next minute we have to leave – someone’s tapped me on the shoulder and said I’m not allowed to be there.
“I’m not trying to cause a scene. I just want to watch my kids play.”
Speaking on the ban he recalled: “I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was just trying to get my head around it. I reckon [that night] I cried a sleepless night.”
His lawyers have asked New South Wales Rugby League to revisit the incident and reconsider but to no avail and he is now reportedly considering Supreme Court action.
Per the Sydney Morning Herald: “His lawyers are now weighing up whether to seek an extension on the statute of limitations to pursue Supreme Court action.”