Luke O’Donnell blames the system for suspensions — and why that’s not a bad thing

Breaking records. Image credit Zimbio.

Breaking records. Image credit Zimbio.

I’d like to think Luke O’Donnell’s suspensions are a thing of the past, but it’s pretty hard to cut out the aggression you’ve displayed for 10 years in the top grade.

For one, in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Luke O’Donnell refers to suspensions as:

‘The suspensions were just one of those things that only happened once every now and then,” O’Donnell said. ‘That loading system really hurt me…”

Yes. Suspensions just happen every now and then, Luke. Like the flu and shit, they happen.

So it looks like he still blames the system, rather than his actions, for his indiscretions. It hardly sounds like he’s been reformed after a total of 29 weeks spent suspended on the sideline throughout his career — an NRL record.

He’ll get suspended at least once this year but with the depth at the club in the back row, it’s not really an issue.

And this is one instance where holding a terrible record is actually a good thing.

He made metres easily up the middle of the field and players actively avoid going near his area in the defensive line — a by-product, ironically, of holding the NRL record for most weeks out with suspension.

So go out there and beateth the living shit out of people, Luke. You have a one-year contract, we have mad depth and we need a guy who is willing to take one for the team in the name of the greater good.

In short: do what you do best.

From The Herald:

Sydney Roosters forward Luke O’Donnell said he was back in the NRL after two years in England’s Super League to bolster the tri-colours with his go-forward and not add to his record as rugby league’s most suspended player.

O’Donnell left the NRL in 2010 when he rejected a new deal from North Queensland to join Huddersfield as he believed the judiciary had placed a ”target” on his head. He justified his belief at the time by pointing to his judiciary record that noted he had been ousted 10 times in 11 years while at Balmain, Wests Tigers and Cowboys.

His most severe suspension was an 11-week ban for striking Canberra’s Michael Monaghan in 2003. Monaghan’s jaw was broken in two places, although O’Donnell’s legal representative argued it was possible the then Raider rookie hurt himself further a minute later while making a tackle on Mark O’Neill.

However, the former NSW Origin enforcer who also represented Australia, said it was not his intention to add to his litany of liability after Huddersfield granted him a release to join the Roosters on a one-year deal.

‘The suspensions were just one of those things that only happened once every now and then,” O’Donnell said. ‘That loading system really hurt me … I haven’t really thought too much about the judiciary, I just want to steer clear.”

As he prepared for Saturday’s match against Brisbane, O’Donnell said while he would like to think he returned to the NRL wiser, but warned that shouldn’t be interpreted to mean he didn’t still play the game tough and hard.

”I’d like to think I’m a couple of years older,” O’Donnell said. ”I had a new experience over in England and probably learned a bit from that; couldn’t tell you exactly what’s changed but I’d like to think I’ve come back a better player.

”I don’t know if I’ve mellowed or maybe [I’m] a little bit smarter for the experience. Like I said, two years older probably helps.”

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