Manly back-rower Karl Lawton will face a nervous wait from the match review committee after he was sent off for a dangerous lifting tackle during the Sea Eagles’ 40-22 loss to South Sydney.
Lawton was sent off inside the opening 10 minutes when his tackle on Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray went horribly wrong.
While Murray was initially well grabbed by Lawton, he was then tipped beyond the horizontal, making for an awkward landing.
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Referee Grant Atkins didn’t even say a word to the former Titan as he sent him off, simply pointing to the sideline.
“That might be dangerous … that got a bit out of control that tackle,” said Nine commentator Mat Thompson.
It was a moment that stunned rugby league legends Phil Gould and Brad Fittler while reacting to the tackle live.
Gould said Lawton might’ve been unlucky due to the momentum involved.
“It’s just momentum, no one’s hurt. Settle down,” Gould said.
Fittler agreed, adding: “I’m in support of Gus.”
“I didn’t think at any stage that deserved a send-off.
“You see a lot of these players get in that situation and they will drop their heads to the ground… I thought that could’ve been an awful lot worse and I really can’t believe he’s walking past me on the sidelines.”
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Fortunately for Murray, he got back up on his feet and played out the remainder of the game.
Gould said he was shocked the send-off was given due to Murray avoiding any serious injury.
“It’s just a momentum tackle, that’s all,” Gould explained.
“You’ve got one man running really hard at the other man and he gets down low where you want him to tackle.
“It’s a little bit of a flip, but to be sent off for that when there’s no injury to the player – I find that extraordinary.”
Reacting to the tackle after the game, Melbourne Storm legend Cameron Smith suggested a sin-binning would’ve been “sufficient”.
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“I thought 10 minutes in the bin would’ve been sufficient… he’s put in a dangerous position, there’s no doubt about that,” Smith said on Nine.
“I just thought 10 minutes would’ve been sufficient.
“I don’t think he had any intent at all to drop him on his head, I think that’s a tackle that’s gone wrong. I completely agree it finishes in a dangerous position… but a send-off?”
Meanwhile, North Queensland great Johnathan Thurston didn’t see eye-to-eye with Smith, declaring the referee made the right decision.
“It’s send-off in my eyes every day of the week,” Thurston responded.
“If that’s not a send-off offence, what is?”
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