Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner has called on the NRL to be consistent in their bid to stamp out illegal play after the club's star centre was slapped with a three-game ban.
Raiders young gun Nick Cotric will miss three matches after pleading guilty to a dangerous tackle for which he was sent off over the weekend.
The Raiders were considering fighting the grade three dangerous throw charge with coach Ricky Stuart adamant Cotric's tackle was unworthy of such a hefty grading.
But the Raiders opted against rolling the dice at the NRL judiciary, meaning Cotric will eye a round 21 return for the clash against the Sydney Roosters at Canberra Stadium on August 11.
The 20-year-old became the first casualty of the NRL's crackdown on illegal play, becoming the first player sent off this year for a tackle Furner says "wouldn't have been a send-off" four weeks ago.
But the Raiders boss says he can live with the send-off provided there is consistency across the competition in the coming weeks.
"Somebody was going to wear it and we did, because nobody was in any doubt it wouldn't have been sent off a couple of weeks ago. That's fine if that's the way it's going to be for everybody," Furner said.
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"The thing that was annoying out of that weekend was that because there had been so much rhetoric about 'referees aren't brave enough to send anybody off, there has been no send-offs for years', that had been running for a couple of weeks, somebody was going to wear the butt of that, and it was us.
"Four weeks ago that wouldn't have been a send-off, he still would have had to go to the judiciary and still might have got three weeks, but he wouldn't have been sent off.
"The referees had to say 'we can send somebody off'. As soon as it happened I thought 'you watch, this will bite us now' because of all the other eye-gouges and things people had gotten away with.
"Taking into account he hasn't had a charge before, he's got no loading, it would have only saved one week to get a downgrade."
Cotric has endured a roller-coaster period since forcing his way into the NSW Blues side for the State of Origin series opener last month.
An injury in his Raiders return kept him sidelined for the remainder of the series but he bounced back to score the opening try in his comeback against the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday night.
But things went awry in the second stanza after his tackle on Tim Lafai went wrong.
Momentum and Cotric's power put Lafai in an awkward position, lifting him above the horizontal and going head first into the ground as the Raiders centre lost both his footing and control of the tackle.
Lafai avoided injury, but Cotric became the first player sent off for a dangerous tackle since 1995.
Stuart maintains Cotric's tackle was anything but a grade three dangerous tackle, however the risk of fighting the charge and losing proved too great.
"I don't believe it is a grade three dangerous throw, however that is what the NRL has deemed it to be related to similar incidents. Therefore it's just not worth fighting at the judiciary," Stuart said.
"Nick didn't plant his feet, he didn't put his arm between Lafai's legs and drive him into a dangerous position.
"He was wrong-footed and didn't have his own balance through the tackle, which was shown when he slipped and got himself in the wrong position to complete the tackle.
"That's vastly different to someone planting his feet, arms between his legs, and driving him into the ground."
Michael Oldfield will replace Cotric for the Raiders against the Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night as they aim to cement their spot in the top four.