Plenty of ex-players have come out after the hit on Soward crying foul of the systems and practices in the NRL that allow these kinds of incidents to continally occur.
Firstly, the hit on Soward was disgusting. The ball was well gone and Soward was always looking to pass. It has well documented that Soward has had back surgery and Pauli had no issue with throwing his 120kg into his back. It was reckless and unneccesary and did cause an injury to Soward, thankfully it was not more serious.
Secondly, the processes in the NRL are all wrong. Penrith actually gained no advantage from the hit, Parramatta gained an advantage. The Panthers scored the try without a penalty being awarded to them. Pauli was then placed on report as Soward left the field. On the night of the incident Pauli made an illegal tackle and the Eels benefited as a chief playmaker and goal-kicked left the field for Penrith. They got no penalty, sin-bin or send-off. The benefit will be affored to any team Pauli canot play against and trust me, Pauli is not a big loss, but how big a loss is Soward for Penrith.
Thirdly, the rules in the NRL are begining to favour those commiting the indiscretions rather than protecting the players. Consider this, with the new concussion rules, if you are hit high and hard you may not be able to return even if you want to. Under the current rules too, unless it is a reportable tackle their isn't a penalty on video review any more. No one has been sent off since 2013. With that in mind, say in Origin 3 with the series on the line Beau Scott goes in on Cooper Cronk high or late, he is concussed and is forbidden to return. Beau Scott might give away a penalty, if it's not "reportable" he might not, but QLD are missing their match winner. 10 minutes later Cameron Smith is hit high by Paul Gallen, again it may or may not draw a penalty but Smith has to leave the field. What chance are QLD of winning the game? But this is the precedents that have been set and the rules that have been brought in. We have seen it twice this year. Jamie Soward and Tim Browne have been hit illegally and have had to leave the field while the attacker plays out the match and just gives away one penalty.
Finally, this is another example of the NRL's unsustainable "reactive" approach to the rules and conduct. Concussion and video review rules have come in during the season, without consideration but plays that are reckless, careless or just dangerous have not been addressed. They need to innovate for next season. If you are seen to recklessly or carelessly force a player from the field then you come off too, 5 minutes in the bin and you stay off the field until that player returns. If they don't return neither do you. If you end a players night, you end yours. If you end their season, yours is over too.
Tell me why Pauli Pauli should stay on the field and gain an advantage for his team with foul play, essentially help them win the game, with a dog shot? Tell me why on the day Penrith are rewarded with nothing and potentially are disadvantaged for weeks while Pauli helps his team and could return before Soward to play again despite an injury that he inflicted? Tell me why the NRL are comfortable with their processes keeping the reckless and dangerous players on the field while forcing those that are the victims of injury off? Tell me why the advantages are afforded other teams in weeks to come and not the affected team on the night? They're is no common sense or hardline stances in the game when it comes to dangerous and reckless play, it's not good enough.