Manly coach Des Hasler acknowledged the severity of Karl Lawton’s tackle on Cameron Murray, while saying his forward would never try and hurt someone like that on purpose.
Lawton was sent off after just nine minutes of play, when what initially looked like a perfect one-on-one tackle got away from him, and resulted in the Rabbitohs captain coming close to being dumped on his head.
“It’s not a good one,” Hasler conceded.
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“He’s devastated, the poor kid. He’s such a hard worker, he plays the game at pace, he has such a nice temperament.
“There was certainly no malice in the tackle but at the same time, there’ll probably be some consequences to face.”
Manly burst out to a 10-2 lead after the incident, but were run down in the second half and eventually lost, 40-22.
“There’s plenty of good things that we can take away from this game,” he said.
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Hasler said the only real call was whether to send Lawton for ten minutes, or for the rest of the game.
“Would you send him or would you sin bin? I thought maybe a decision could have been disputed there but either way, he wasn’t going to stay on the field,” Hasler said.
Captain Daly-Cherry Evans echoed his coach’s sentiments, saying that Lawton would never intentionally hurt someone.
“He’s gutted, he feels like he’s let us down – but we’ll just get around him and make sure he’s alright, he’s such a good fella, like Des said, he’s never trying to hurt someone like that,” he said.
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“In the moment you’re just gutted that you’re losing a player for the whole game, so it’s a really big consequence to face.
“But we’ve got the officials making those tough decisions for a reason, they’re trying to protect the players and we just have to back that they’re doing the right thing.”
Souths coach Jason Demetriou agreed that there was no intent, but thought the decision was spot on.
“I don’t think it was deliberate, it’s one of those things that happens – but it’s a really dangerous tackle, and Cam’s lucky he rolled,” he said.
“If he’d tried to straighten he would have been in a lot of trouble.”
Murray said he didn’t really remember the incident but was just thankful to not be hurt.
“I don’t think it was deliberate, it probably looked a little worse than it was, but I’m lucky that I came off not too banged up, so it was all good.”
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