There have been numerous tribunal referrals following the new ruling on shoulder charges, and it may just be enough to put an end to Willie Mason's NRL career. Shoulder charges were banned due to their capabilities of causing severe injury to players, with player safety being the main concern. Mason was slapped with a grade one shoulder charge for his hit against the Rooster's Dylan Napa on Friday night.
This is a significant offense for Mason due to it being his first game back on the field after recovering from a two week ban for a shoulder charge against South's prop Tom Burgess. This will be his last shoulder charge for the Manly as they have made it clear that they do not want Mason on the team next season.
With Mason unable to secure a team for the 2016 season as it is, he may not be picked up and won't be able to continue his career. It has become increasingly difficult for Mason to be placed on a team now that any team that picks him up will be unable to use him for the first few weeks of the season resulting from the lengthy ban.
Mason's ban is longer than typical shoulder charge offences since he has two prior similar offences that he has committed. He can either choose to plead guilty and receive a three week ban, or he can appeal the decision of the tribunal in an attempt to get the ban lifted. The problem with appealing the decision would be that if he lost, the ban would be increased to a four-match suspension that would make it almost impossible for him to get picked up.
Although the most serious offence, Mason isn't the only player facing more shoulder ban charges this week. New Zealand Warriors player Charlie Gubb was sent to the review board for a total of two shoulder charges in a single game during the losing game against the West Tigers on Sunday. Late in the match, he has been accused of shoulder charging Ava Seumanufagai in the 56th minute of the game and shoulder charging Pat Richards in the 79th minute of the game. Gubbs already has carryover points meaning that if the tribunal finds him guilty of the offences he can be given a four match ban of his own. This will carry into the next season, making Gubbs unable to play during the early matches.
Issac Luke was given a shoulder charge offence that he pled guilty to, which will mean a one match ban. During the same match Alex Glenn also accepted a one match ban for dangerous contact.