Two bulldogs players in a tackle on another player, one man reaches reaches over the shoulder eye gouging the attacker

Corey Waddell given five-match ban for eye gouging Fa’asuamaleaui as Finucane suspended for two weeks for dangerous contact

Canterbury forward Corey Waddell has been found guilty of gouging Gold Coast captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui’s eyes and banned for five matches.

The NRL judiciary, comprising Dallas Johnson and Bob Lindner and chaired by Justice Geoffrey Bellew, deliberated for roughly 15 minutes on Tuesday night before unanimously finding Waddell’s contact with Fa’asuamaleaui had been dangerous and reckless.

The match review committee referred Waddell directly to the NRL judiciary on a dangerous contact charge, meaning he had no option to enter a plea.

Waddell told the judiciary he had been attempting to bring Fa’asuamaleaui to the ground in a tackle when his arm reached over a teammate and onto the lock’s forehead.

Waddell insisted he had only touched the forehead and bridge of Fa’asuamaleaui’s nose, doing so by accident and without applying pressure.

But after listening to NRL counsel Patrick Knowles, the judiciary was satisfied Waddell’s middle and index fingers had come into contact with Fa’asuamaleaui’s eye socket.

Eye gouge posed risk of injury

Knowles said it was “implausible” no contact had been made with the eyes given their proximity to the nose and forehead, adding there would be no reason for Waddell’s hand to be on Fa’asuamaleaui’s face in a tackle if not to apply pressure.

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