Toovey still waiting for answer from NRL

Manly coach Geoff Toovey says he’s still waiting to hear back from the NRL over Willie Mason’s shoulder charge suspension and has questioned their professionalism.


Mason will miss the next two weeks after being the first player to fall victim to the game’s crackdown on the shoulder charge.

Just hours before Manly ran out against South Sydney last Friday, the governing body announced any player found guilty of a shoulder charge would incur an automatic suspension.

Toovey said he and his players were oblivious to the change in interpretation when his players ran out against South Sydney at Brookvale Oval and Mason had been hard done by after being rubbed out for a hit on Tom Burgess.

He said he received a rude shock when he saw NRL head of football Todd Greenberg’s email the day after the game.

He immediately fired off a reply setting out his concerns but has not heard back six days later.

“I’ve sent emails off to Todd Greenberg, I haven’t heard a response yet,” he said.

“Their processes need to be looked at.

“It’s out of control for a multi-billion dollar sporting industry to be emailed a rule change a few hours before the game. It’s just out of control.”

Toovey said it was unacceptable for a governing body to introduce a change in interpretation a few hours before a game and expected players to know about it.

“I didn’t know about it. If the coach doesn’t know about it I’m pretty sure the players won’t know about it,” Toovey said.

“When you make changes on the run this is what happens.”

Manly will take on Canberra without Mason at GIO Stadium on Sunday in a game which will have a big bearing on both side’s top eight chances.

Toovey said centre Steve Matai was a definite starter despite suffering a broken nose against the Rabbitohs.

He also ruled out Brenton Lawrence making his NRL return following back surgery earlier this year.

Lawrence has returned to the field via the Sea Eagles’ NSW Cup team but Toovey said he was taking a cautious approach with his reintroduction after a five-month lay-off.