NRL confirm to Warriors coach Stephen Kearney, ref got it wrong

2019-03-19 05:51:26

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney says he's been informed that a penalty should have been given against Bulldogs winger Christian Crichton for his mid air hit on David Fusitu'a.

Kearney took an unusual step for him after the Warriors' 40-6 win over the Bulldogs of speaking out about Crichton's collision with his winger, who was hit while leaping to catch a cross-field kick and flipped around before hitting the ground.

In the post-match press conference Kearney said he would contact the NRL and felt there was a problem with the rules as while a player can't be tackled in mid-air when fielding a kick from the opposing team, an attacking player can.

Kearney is expecting to have a detailed conversation with NRL chiefs about the incident, but said on Tuesday that he's already been told that a penalty should have been given against Crichton for a dangerous tackle.

"I emailed the footage and my concerns over the tackle," Kearney said after the team's training session in preparation for Sunday's game against Wests Tigers.

"I'm looking to talk to Bernard Sutton (senior referees manager) today to get a bit of clarification.

"They've already emailed me back saying yes, it should have been a penalty. So I've raised the concern and they're addressing it."

If Crichton's tackle happened in rugby union, it's likely it would have resulted in a red card and there does appear to be more protection for the attacking player leaping to catch a ball in the 15-man code.

But it's possible this incident could result in the NRL adjusting the rules.

"It's common sense," Kearney said.

"It's a bit like a couple of other tackles over the weekend, when you're catching you've got no real protection when you're looking at the ball the whole time, in the position that David was in.

"If you look at the kickers, there were a couple of guys at the weekend who attacked the legs of the kickers and kickers are often ready for kick pressure, whereas for catchers it's more challenging."

Fusitu'a was the leading try scorer in the NRL last season, with 22 of them to his name.

Given his talent for leaping in the air above defending wingers, there is the fear that he could be targeted by other teams this season.

"That was why I brought it up on Saturday and why we addressed it," Kearney said.

"I'm sure it will be dealt with in the appropriate manner by the NRL."

While Saturday's win by the Warriors was the most impressive in round one, the Tigers also picked up a handy win, defeating the Sea Eagles 20-6 and Kearney said two veterans stood out for him in that game, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah.

"Given the conditions, I thought the two senior players in the side were great," he said.

"They're experienced and crafty players and I thought they picked apart Manly. Knowing Benji (Marshall) and Robbie (Farah) and that's what we've got to watch out for.

"I thought it was a strong performance by them."

Meanwhile, Kearney has named the same starting 13 to play at Campbelltown Park on Sunday night.

Isaiah Papali'i, who was stood down for the Bulldogs game for a drink driving offence has been named to wear the No 17 jersey.

Issac Luke took part in the majority of Tuesday's training session, but it's still not certain if he'll play against the joint venture as he works his way back from an off season shoulder operation.

Luke will be monitored over the next few days and if he does play it's likely he'll take the place of Nate Roach in the team, with Jazz Tevaga staying on the interchange because of his utility value.

"Isaiah paid the price last week after failing to live up to the standards we expect of our players," Kearney said.

"He's full of remorse about what happened and he's also hungry to win his place back in the side.

"Issac is also making good progress in his recovery and is certainly a good chance of playing against the Tigers."

Tigers captain Moses Mbye has been included in their 21-man squad, having missed last week's season opener with a knee injury.

Mbye has been named in jersey 18 for Sunday's game at Campbelltown Sports Stadium and will be assessed further throughout the week.


Tigers: Corey Thompson, Mahe Fonua, Paul Momirovski, Esan Marsters, Robert Jennings, Benji Marshall, Luke Brooks, Ben Matulino, Robbie Farah, Alex Twal, Ryan Matterson, Luke Garner, Elijah Taylor. Interchange (from): Russell Packer, Thomas Mikaele, Josh Aloiai, Michael Chee Kam, Moses Mbye, Josh Reynolds, Matt Eisenhuth, Chris McQueen

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu'a, Peta Hiku, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo, Adam Keighran, Blake Green, Agnatius Paasi, Nathaniel Roache, Bunty Afoa, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Lachlan Burr. Interchange (from): Jazz Tevaga, Sam Lisone, Leeson Ah Mau, Isaiah Papali'i, Gerard Beale, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Issac Luke, Ligi Sao.

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