Ryan Matterson’s controversial decision criticised by ex-teammate and former Aussie cricket captain

Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has blasted Ryan Matterson’s decision to accept a three-game suspension instead of paying a fine for his crusher tackle on Dylan Edwards.

“I could not imagine any of my teammates making that call,” a bemused Clarke said on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.

Ryan Matterson’s decision to accept suspension is criticised 

The Parramatta star’s decision to avoid a hefty monetary sanction in favour of sitting out three matches has caused a stir, with plenty of former and current athletes weighing into the conversation.

MORE: Why did Ryan Matterson choose to serve a suspension rather than pay a fine? 

Matterson revealed he had held discussions with the Eels prior to electing not to pay the fine offered to him by the NRL.

“Four grand or three games? What? I’m telling you now champion, if you don’t play, you’re not making a dollar!” Clarke said.

“To me, that is how you make your money. You’ve got to bat and make runs, you’ve got to make catches and take wickets, then you get your contract. Then you get your ambassador deals.

“If you’re not on the park you can’t make money. I don’t get that.”

Meanwhile, Matterson’s former teammate Josh Reynolds was also left speechless by the decision.

“Matto, Matto, Matto,” he said.

“You know what? I’m good mates with Matto, we had a good relationship there at the Tigers. But jeez…I agree that it wasn’t worth that much, but you’ve got to pay it Matto. Come on, mate.”

Clarke and Reynolds’ opinion was also shared by current St George Illawarra prop Aaron Woods who claimed Matterson would be ostracised by his teammates for making the decision he had made.

“He’s just one of the tightest humans you’ll meet,” Woods said on Triple M.

“I can’t believe it, there’s no way I’d miss a game, I’d pay $50,000 to play one game.

“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.

“I don’t understand, some people would be dying to play an NRL game and he’s missing it for $4,000.”

Was the decision to charge Matterson for his crusher tackle incorrect? 

Matterson attempted to explain his reasoning when he spoke to the media at the Eels’ awards night during the week.

The lock said he was sick of having to pay fines for “absurd” incidents and had other issues outside of rugby league that he had to worry about.

The 27-year-old also claimed the tackle should have resulted in a penalty and nothing more, after Edwards’ contribution to the tackle had left him with little choice in the execution of his movement.

Laurie Daley agreed with this assertion and claimed Matterson should have gone to the judiciary to fight the charge and prove his innocence, which risked a four-game ban if unsuccessful.  

“It was a bit steep, in terms of three matches,” Daley said.

“Just with the way the tackle unfolded- Dylan Edwards backs into him and he’s using his legs to keep pushing forward. Ryan Matterson- what is he supposed to do in that situation?

“It’s an awkward one. The man with the football contributes to the outcome of the tackle, in my opinion.

“He turns and backs into him and he’s got his legs continually moving. He is on that angle and Matterson is trying to stop him. So, Matterson’s weight is coming forward to try and stop him.

“Once he’s got his chest on his head, what are you supposed to do?

“I’m sticking up for Ryan in parts of what he said. I would have fought it.”

Michael Clarke blasts Matterson’s decision to not pay the fine

Regardless of the circumstances around the tackle, Clarke couldn’t believe that any sportsperson would elect to miss matches when the option of paying a fine was on the table.

“You’ve got the option,” he argued.

“If you haven’t got the option, then it’s a different story.

“Let’s say he gets a one game suspension. So, you miss one game, or you’ve got the option to pay four grand, what are you doing?

“I know what I’m doing, I’m paying the four grand every day of the week so I can get out there and play with my team.

“I just can’t imagine you’re sitting there watching your teammates going about their work, running onto the field and you’re not willing to spend four grand to be out there with them.

“It’s like when you lose a point for speeding. I’ll pay the fine any day of the week, just don’t take my points. I haven’t got enough to lose.” 

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