The brother of a rugby league player killed by a shoulder charge has blasted the likes of Andrew Johns and Phil Gould over their stance on Billy Slater.
Slater will head to the judiciary on Tuesday night in a bid to have a one-game ban overturned in an attempt to play in Sunday’s grand final.
If he is suspended, he will be the first player to be banned from a grand final because of a shoulder charge, since the play was outlawed in 2013.
While Brad Fittler has said the NRL needs to uphold Slater’s ban, many pundits including Johns, Gould and Paul Vautin have called for the judiciary to go easy on Slater and allow him a fairytale finish to his storied career.
But according to Andrew Ackerman, anyone who wants to see Slater cleared have “no hearts in their bodies.”
Andrew is the brother of James Ackerman, the Queensland footballer killed after he was on the receiving end of a shoulder charge in 2015.
On Sunday, Andrew took to social media with a strong message to the NRL.
“Once again, when the shoulder charge comes into play this bloke right here (he pointed to a picture of James) is mentioned,” Andrew said.
“Now he is dead as the result of a shoulder charge. I watched him die that day, it’s not something I thought I’d ever have to watch.
“Whenever it’s brought up, we relive the past and I am sick of it. I am so, so sick of it. I want to scream, I want to break something, but I’m not that type of bloke.
“I am not a keyboard warrior. I want to get on here, show my face and show my feelings.
“Now Billy Slater should be found guilty of a shoulder charge. I know there was no malice nor intent to hurt in this tackle. No one was injured. But a shoulder charge was used.”
Andrew pointed out that the definition of a shoulder charge does not include “if a player is going to play his last game in a grand final he should be let off”.
“This is a stern warning to Todd Greenberg and the NRL, we’ve spoken before on this issue, let’s just hope you make the right decision, someone, whoever is on the judiciary, makes the right decision.”
Ackerman took aim at the likes of Johns and Gould, who have expressed sympathy for Slater.
“These guys have done it before. They will do it again,” he said.
“No hearts in their bodies really … you just make me shake my head. To give them credit they have stuck by their opinions. They believe the shoulder charge should be brought back in.
“I believe they are wrong. And I have the right reason to believe they are wrong.
“I have these photos all throughout this house. This house is my brother’s house that he can’t live in. His kids are here. He can’t see them. His mum is here. She can’t see her boy anymore. Dad is here, no son. I have got no brother. My other brother Tom has got no brother.
“And all because of a shoulder charge. Which is why I voice my opinion.
“We shouldn’t see shoulder charges anymore. And if we do jump on them and get rid of the blokes who use them. Same with spear tackles. Same with cheap shots.
“I don’t care how tough you are or how tough the game was or if fans are leaving.
“I couldn’t give a s***. None of that is going to bring my brother back.
“Get rid of it. Billy Slater should miss the grand final. That is it.”