"Yeah." It seems that one word sunk Hudson Young's ship. And his maiden NRL season in the process.
But it also sunk young New Zealand Warriors back Adam Pompey's integrity in the process. Yeah it did.
Well according to the NRL judiciary it did. Because when delivering their "guilty" verdict they essentially called Pompey a liar in the process.
They completely dismissed his testimony where he said Raiders second-rower Young didn't eye gouge him.
(Testimony that backed up Youngs' claims he didn't eye gouge him. Testimony that by all reports was consistent and well delivered.)
Question after question. Nope, he didn't do it. Yeah, things looked good. But that was all discounted. With judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew leading the charge to ignore everything Pompey said.
What are the chances the 21-year-old kid will ever want to give evidence at a judicial hearing again? Yeah two chances. Buckley's and none.
Sure, the good old fashioned code of protecting your fellow player has been around for years.
You say I didn't do it and when it's my time I'll do the same. Scratching each other's backs and all that.
That's what NRL counsel Peter McGrath was alluding to when he asked Pompey if it was a case of "what happens on the field stays on the field?"
That's when Pompey said, "Yeah."
Apparently that meant the kid had been lying the whole time. Yeah, nah.
If I was Pompey I'd be filthy. From all reports he's a shy young man and the Raiders were worried if word got out that they were looking for him to give evidence then the added media attention would spook him.
It didn't. And he did. But a betting man would have money that it has now. He went out on a limb and the judiciary took to it with a chainsaw. Yeah, enjoy the ride.
Now I'm not condoning what Young did. He obviously made a mistake. And deserved some form of punishment.
But exactly what? Well that seems to be a case of spinning the chocolate wheel.
If you're a member of the Sydney media it was a race to the bottom to see who could come up with the biggest sentence.
Brett Finch cried 12-20. Others wanted a year. Reni Maitua wanted him put in a body bag. Yeah, a body bag.
When, if he was found guilty, all it could ever be was about the same as what George Burgess got. Eye gouge. Second offence. Nine weeks. Simples.
Suddenly the judicial consistency these same Sydney media types have been calling for all season was out the window. "Look at me, mine's bigger."
Regardless of what Young got, which was eight weeks, it was always going to mean someone's punishment was wrong. Josh McGuire got a fine - twice - for exactly what Young did. Yeah he did.
Slap of Nine tails
From hands in the face to a slap in it. I can't help but feeling both the Raiders and the Melbourne Storm have been given one with this week's finals scheduling.
Surely the teams that finished in the top four should be the ones given the prime time slots. Friday night. Saturday night.
But instead the age old "Channel Nine looking down their nose at Canberra" reared it's ugly head.
I thought this was going to change when the NRL took back control of their draw from the broadcaster? But the more things change the more they stay the same.
Yeah sure, it gives me some chance to get to the pub in time to watch Liverpool play, but surely that wasn't a factor?
The best teams and the biggest games should be on the biggest and brightest stage. Friday night. Saturday night.
They've got it half right. The Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs on the Friday. Massive rivalry. Book of feuds. Reigning premiers against the third-placed side. Boxes ticked. Nicely done.
Come Saturday night. Not so much. Instead of the runaway minor premiers Storm - looking to go one step further than last year's grand final loss - up against the Green Machine. The fourth best team in the country.
Instead of that, it's the sixth-placed Manly Sea Eagles' second 13 up against the seventh-placed Cronulla Sharks in prime time. It seems Nine's programming power lives on.