Manly’s Karl Lawton faces lengthy ban after being cited by NRL Judiciary for controversial tackle

Manly forward Karl Lawton is facing a four-week ban after being cited by the NRL Judiciary for a dangerous throw tackle during Friday night’s 40-22 loss to the Rabbitohs.

Lawton will receive the month spell if he puts in an early guilty plea, but could face a five-match suspension if he decides to contest the charge, which came after he was sent off in the ninth minute for a tackle on South Sydney captain Cameron Murray.

The 26-year-old hit Murray with a spear tackle, before lifting him up and almost dropping his opponent on his head, with the referee giving Lawton his marching orders soon after – forcing the Sea Eagles to play 70 minutes with 12 players.

Murray wasn’t injured in the incident, with that fact the main point of contention from critics discussing the severity of the tackle and subsequent punishment.

Bulldogs great Michael Ennis backed the referee’s call, believing that Lawton’s tackle had potential to cause serious injury to Murray.

“That’s very, very dangerous,” Ennis said on Fox League’s coverage.

“It was a bad one. He came up and underneath, drops low but it’s that last lifting motion where he almost just flips him at the last minute.

“Murray [was] lucky not be hurt. I’m not surprised.”

However, both Phil Gould and Brad Fittler thought Lawton should have been sent off, with the former questioning the direction of the sport.

“To be sent off for that, when there is absolutely no injury to the other player, that’s extraordinary,” Gould said on Channel Nine’s coverage.

“If that’s your product I give up”.

Fittler supported Gould’s opinion: “I can’t believe he’s walking [off] past me.

“I’m with Gus here, I don’t think it deserved a send off.”

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