Sports

Mitchell Barnett, judiciary result, suspension, Newcastle Knights, elbow video, how long is he banned for


By Simon Brunsdon and Chris De Silva

Newcastle forward Mitchell Barnett has been whacked with a six-match ban for his off-ball hit on Penrith’s Chris Smith.

Barnett fronted the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night after being referred by the match review committee for his ugly elbow on Smith.

Barnett was sent off for the incident, was found guilty of reckless dangerous contact by the judiciary.

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At the judiciary hearing, the NRL’s counsel requested an eight-game ban for Barnett. Barnett’s own representation suggested four weeks was sufficient.

Only a few months ago, Latrell Mitchell copped a six-game ban when his high shot shattered the face of Joey Manu.

Smith is missing this week’s game for Penrith as a result of the Barnett elbow, but his injury is concussion rather than a broken bone.

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“I felt horrible about the situation,” Barnett told the hearing. “I have since reached out (to Smith) and made sure he was OK.”

“I made a split-second decision travelling at speed, I hadn’t seen him until he was in my peripheral vision. If I had my time again I wouldn’t raise my arm so high.”

Despite showing remorse, Barnett argued that his action was not one that was dirty, but rather what players were coached to do.

“I feel like it is the upper part of his chest. That is why it was careless. I wish I didn’t raise my arm that high,” he said.

“I raised my bumper because I wanted to push through without falling over. We are coached to not to leave it up to the referee – to get through and make the tackle.

“I hadn’t seen the player until the last second when he came into my peripheral vision. My goal is to fill the space (between Adam Clune and Bradman Best) without getting knocked over. I just saw a black jersey. I made a split-second decision”.

However, he received little sympathy from NRL counsel Lachlan Gyles, who said it was “good luck rather than management” that Smith’s jaw was not broken in the clash.

“He was prone and defenceless against someone running at force,” Gyles said of Smith.

“The incident was so late that the television cameras almost didn’t pick it up”.

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