NRL 2022: Karl Lawton send off for spear tackle on Cameron Murray, South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles, reaction

NRL commentators were divided over the call to send a player off for an ugly spear tackle in South Sydney’s win over Manly.

South Sydney’s 40-22 win over Manly on Friday night was overshadowed by an ugly spear tackle that has divided opinion.

Manly’s Karl Lawton was sent off in the ninth minute when he tackled Cameron Murray low around the hips and lifted him up.

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The Souths captain twisted awkwardly and almost landed on his head as a result of the ugly tackle.

The referee sent Lawton off for the dangerous tackle, leaving the Sea Eagles to play the remaining 70 minutes with 12 players.

The send off split some of rugby league’s leading commentators.

Phil Gould said on Channel 9: “To be sent off for that, when there is absolutely no injury to the other player, that’s extraordinary.

“If that’s your product I give up”.

He said it was a “momentum tackle” and suggested the Lawton was “low, where you want him to tackle”.

Brad Fittler agreed: “I can’t believe he’s walking (off) past me”.

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

But Michael Ennis believed the referee made the correct call.

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

“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.”

Panthers legend Greg Alexander said: “I thought it was a send off offence.

“We have had players get players in positions and this is the tackle that we want to stamp out.

“And Karl Lawton drove him into the ground head first.

“Cameron Murray twisted his head and landed on his shoulder, but it could have been a little different.

“I’ve got no argument with it being a send off”

“I don’t know what will happen to Lawton at the judiciary but he is in a bit of strife.”

Benji Marshall added: “It’s an old school spear tackle that we used to see back in the day”.

Manly produced a gusty performance and gave Souths a tough fight despite being one man down for most of the game.

The Sea Eagles even took the lead shortly after Lawton was sent off, but they couldn’t hold the Rabbitohs off.

South Sydney scored four tries in the second half to run away with the win. The Bunnies were scoring with ease — seven different players crossed for a try.

The win means they leapfrog Manly into sixth on the ladder, with much of Round 8 still to come.

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