A post-match apology didn’t impact the NRL match review committee who have referred Bulldogs forward Corey Waddell directly to the judiciary for an allegedly eye-gouging Gold Coast captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on Sunday.
An apologetic Waddell has denied he eye-gouged Fa’asuamaleaui and insisted he made accidental contact after attempting to bring the star forward to the ground in the 23rd minute of a fiery encounter.
Referee Ben Cummins asked the bunker to investigate, saying: “He’s accusing the (player) of scraping across the eyes.”
Waddell was penalized and placed on the report but is confident of being cleared.
“I went to get my arm over and push him on his back and obviously my hand wasn’t in the best position,” he explained.
“When I realized it was on his face, I released it. It wasn’t intentional, there was malice there.
“I didn’t realize what he was blowing up for but I didn’t think my fingers were in his eyes or anything like that.
“They’ll have a look at the vision but they’ll realize I just got my hand in the wrong spot. There was nothing in it.”
Fa’asuamaleaui pointed straight at Waddell after the incident and then pointed to his right eye as Cummins stopped play to ask for bunker intervention.
Replays show Waddell’s arm reaching over Fa’asuamaleaui’s shoulder and covering his eyes with his left hand.
A Titans player can be heard screaming: “You’re a fuc*ing cat, you’re a fuc*ing dog, mate.”
Before penalizing Waddell, Cummins tells him: “You’ve been around the face and it’s on report. Don’t go there.”
After the match, Fa’asuamaleaui accepted Waddell’s actions were not deliberate.
He said: “It’s just footy. Sometimes your hand goes somewhere you don’t know where it is.
“It happened to be on my forehead and hit my eye, but it’s accidental.”