No way NRL should let Matterson backflip to swap suspension for fine

featured, League, NRL, Rugby League, Ryan Matterson

Eels forward Ryan Matterson has confused NRL fans once more, backflipping on his decision of refusing to pay a fine to accept a suspension next season, now wanting to cough up the money.

Matterson stunned everyone when he chose to take a three-week suspension after being charged for a crusher tackle during the Grand Final on Penrith’s Dylan Edwards, when the alternative was to take the early guilty plea and a $4000 fine.

According to a News Corp report, Parramatta will try to have the ruling changed so their star player can lace up the boots for round one. The club is trying to claim that the 24 hours given to enter a plea following their grand final loss was not sufficient.

He was hit with the charge on the Monday morning, which was a public holiday, and spent the day at the Fan Day, followed by a night with his teammates. They asked for an extension but were only granted two hours.

This is a player on a contract reportedly valued at $600,000 a season until the end of 2026, so one would assume the fine wouldn’t have put too much of a dent in the pocket.

But it seems Matterson may now be regretting his thought process.

As the smallest violin in the world plays in the background, NRL fans are thinking, “too bad so sad, you made your bed, now you have to lie in it”.

Many immediately questioned the Eels star’s frugal ways as well as his passion for his team. Fellow NRL player Dragons Aaron Woods called him “the tightest human” after Matterson announced his decision to accept the suspension.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“I can’t believe it, there’s no way I’d miss a game,” said Woods. “I don’t understand, some people would be dying to play an NRL game and he’s missing three for $4000. 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.”

Radio commentator and former NRL player Mark Geyer felt the same. “I don’t know what’s going on,” said Geyer on Triple M. “That’s peril for Parramatta because they’re losing Niukore, they’re losing Papali’i. They need Matterson on deck. They need to be full-strength. There might be more to it but the optics of it makes Ryan look like he loves his money a bit too much.

“He’s on about $600,000-a-year. To miss three games of footy for $4,000, I don’t get it and hope there is more to it.

“That doesn’t say much about his passion to play for the Eels. They could be 0-3 to start, the Eels, after three games, who knows, they need every man on deck. The optics of it don’t look really good.”

Parramatta will also be without Reed Mahoney, Tom Opacic, Oregon Kaufusi after they also left the club.

Despite the recent events, Matterson stood firm and sparked further debate when explaining his decision to take the suspension.

“If you do something wrong at work. They don’t take money off you,” Matterson told AAP in October. “I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m playing rugby league. It’s just getting quicker and quicker and people are getting stronger and stronger — and the game keeps changing rules.

“There wasn’t much in it… It didn’t make sense to me. At the time I thought it was definitely a penalty, but I didn’t think it would go much further than that.

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“Considering Jarome Luai is kicking players and he didn’t get cited. It makes you think ‘Where is this game heading?’

“At the end of the day, I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m playing rugby league, it’s just getting quicker and quicker and people are getting stronger and stronger – and the game keeps changing rules.

“The fines need to go.”

The Eels are arguing their case to the NRL with a spokesman confirming “We are in dialogue with the Parramatta club regarding the matter”.

All eyes will be on the outcome of the appeal, with the NRL judiciary already a laughing stock after allowing Panther Taylan May to defer a one-game ban until next season so he could play in the finals. ARL Commission Chairman Peter V’landys said at the time: “It was for the fans.”

Matterson has played 59 games for the blue and golds since he joined the club in 2020. He was one of Parramatta’s best players last season, so their supporters will be hoping PVL and his mates also do them a solid, clearing him to play in the season opener against the Storm on March 2.

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