The fallout from the Roosters’ fiery win over Melbourne has hit, with prop Lindsay Collins facing a four-week ban after a judge cited him for a hip tackle.
The incident left Storm striker Tom Eisenhuth with a reported high ankle problem and categorized as a Level 3 Dangerous Contact, and with indiscretions earlier this year carries a potential penalty of four weeks, or five if the Roosters contest.
That would see him miss next week’s critical clash with South Sydney and three weeks out from the final, with a potential return only if the Chooks progress to the grand final.
His teammates Victor Radley and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves escaped with fines, as did Storm enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
The Roosters also lost Daniel Tupou to a groin injury and Radley to a concussion. Tupou is set to miss next week, although despite a crisis on the pitch Radley could be ready to leave next week, according to NRL Physio.
Des Hasler not afraid of sacking despite Krilich claims
Manly coach Des Hasler says calls for his ax don’t deter him, encouraging his critics to “line up”.
As the Sea Eagles’ season crumbled losing five straight games — including their last three by a combined 70 points — Hasler maintained that morale hadn’t waned in his locker room heading into Saturday’s meeting with Canberra.
Former Manly captain Max Krilich led the charge against Hasler earlier this week, telling News Corp that his tactics were ‘stale’ and that the premier’s two-time coach had ‘probably run out of time’ .
Hasler played down the comments and supported himself to keep the team heading in the right direction.
“It’s just another – line up,” he told reporters. “Those things will be rolled out, so Max is entitled to his opinion, he’s a good guy.
“But 12 months ago Max was, I’m sure, quite excited about how the team was going, where the club was heading. I can just let Max know that obviously clubs are going through difficult times, so it will be fine.
Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans earlier this week insisted the team’s problems were unrelated to their support for Hasler and the coach agreed, pointing out their injury crisis was to blame for their end-of-season woes.
“Without making any apologies, there were 13 (players) on the sidelines, it became a bit more difficult from that point of view,” he said.
“We’ve injected a few young players to get a taste of experience and they’re just working with a few things to gain experience like that this weekend to make sure we can feel solid and competitive.”
Flegler discharged from hospital after suffering a throat attack
Brisbane prop Tom Flegler has escaped suspension and been released from hospital, but manager Kevin Walters still has a lot of headaches after what he described as a “terrible” night at the office.
The Broncos will climb out of the NRL top eight if Canberra beat Manly on Saturday after a terrible nighttime performance in the 53-6 loss to Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
Flegler was rushed to hospital when he left the field in the second half clutching his throat.
“He cut an elbow to his throat. He couldn’t breathe and was in trouble,” Walters said.
Flegler returned to Suncorp Stadium hours after the game after being released from hospital.
“I’m fine,” he told AAP, before heading back to his house for the night.
Flegler was at Broncos headquarters with the physical therapist Friday morning and was resting at home later.
Broncos performance manager David Ballard said Flegler could still be available for the Dragons.
“We’ll see how he recovers over the next few days before determining how he prepares for next week’s game,” he said.
Flegler had previously been referred for what match officials believed was a shoulder charge on Reagan Campbell-Gillard, but the match review committee deemed it to be dangerous contact instead. and Flegler will pay a $1,000 fine with an early plea.
Star Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds and forward Kobe Hetherington failed to return from HIA testing against the Eels while center Brenko Lee has aggravated a lower leg injury and will undergo CT scans.
Walters hoped Reynolds and Hetherington would be fit to play against St George Illawarra in the final clash the Broncos must win if they are to play football in the Finals. “He just has to pass all the tests with the protocols,” Walters said.
The Broncos have given up 189 points over the past five weeks.
“I’m not going to make excuses. It’s just not good enough,” Walters said.
Back rower Kurt Capewell said the season started with a defensive focus. “We’ve definitely seen it slip the last few weeks,” he said. “Once something goes against us… the teams put a big score on us. We have a lot of things to settle, and a week to do it.
Walters said center Herbie Farnworth was “an outside chance” to return next week after a bicep injury.
Prop Pat Carrigan will return from suspension against the Dragons and winger Selwyn Cobbo is expected to play after sitting out the Eels clash due to fatigue.
Meanwhile, Eels forward Campbell-Gillard has been charged with a shoulder charge on Jordan Riki, but will escape a $3,000 fine if he takes the first plea.
Payten wants to extend Cowboys deal
Todd Payten is certain a new NRL coaching deal will soon be negotiated to keep him in North Queensland.
The Cowboys are preparing for their first Finals campaign under Payten, who signed a three-year contract in mid-2020 after leading the Warriors for 14 games in their first COVID-affected season in Australia.
In his first season as head coach in Townsville, the Cowboys struggled with injuries and fell to their fourth consecutive bottom-four finish.
But after bloodying some of their now exceptional young talent at the end of 2021, his side turned the script on a season where they had to struggle again.
They are just two wins away from securing two home finals in September.
Payten still has a year left on his contract after this season and said that while he hasn’t entered into any negotiations with the club yet, he is confident everything will be sorted out in due course.
“The club know well how much I love the city and the club,” he said on Friday.
“It will be sorted out when the time comes and I have no doubt it will be.”
When asked if he would prefer a short or long-term deal, Payten was not without his usual dry humor.
“As much money as long as possible,” he joked.
Although the upcoming series of finals will be his first as a head coach, Payten brings with him winning experience as an assistant.
He was assistant to the late Paul Green when the Cowboys triumphed in 2015 against Brisbane alongside South Sydney manager Jason Demetriou, whose side will meet this weekend in a must-see clash.
Both teams will look to boast of their Premiership titles at the Accor Stadium on Saturday, with the Cowboys looking to keep a foreign spot in second place in the standings.
They are tied with Cronulla on 34 points but have a pros and cons superiority which will be the difference if both teams win their final two games.
For the Rabbitohs, last week’s loss to Penrith left them looking over their shoulder at the ninth-placed Raiders to hold on to their place in the eight with a clash against cross-city rivals Sydney Roosters in round 25. .
The Cowboys can finish their season with a winning record on their trips to Sydney if they see off Demetriou’s side, with a clash against minor Premiers Penrith in the final round.
Johns warns Dragons against Hunt-Griffin clause
Immortal half-back Andrew Johns has called on St George Illawarra to stand firm in light of a request from Ben Hunt for his contract extension to be tied to manager Anthony Griffin’s future.
Hunt has publicly stated that he wants to continue with the Dragons until the end of 2025 and wants Griffin to stay on as coach. They are both out of contract at the end of next season.
Johns, when asked if he would agree to a clause in Hunt’s contract that gives him an exit option if Griffin is no longer a coach, replied, “No. Not a chance” on his Freddy and The Eighth podcast with Brad Fittler.
“If Hook leaves, he leaves. Your captain or your player does not decide who is the coach.
“I can understand his loyalty. Many of these players came through the Brisbane system when they won the Under-20s [under Griffin]. Obviously they have this relationship, but you can’t dictate to the club that if the coach leaves, you leave.
The Dolphins and potentially the Titans could make a multi-million dollar game for Hunt if the Dragons don’t increase their extension offer, which would be around $750,000 per season.
Johns said his value was over $900,000 to $1 million a season “when you see what the other halves are getting.”
Fittler disagreed, pointing to the team’s poor record of a single Finals campaign with Hunt at halfback, saying he was worth around $800,000.
The NSW manager has said he would like Hunt to stay to help bring Jayden Sullivan into the NRL.
Tolman wants to go out ‘on a high note’
Veteran Cronulla prop Aiden Tolman has announced his decision to retire from rugby league.
The 33-year-old, who is the NRL’s oldest and most experienced player with 314 games to his name, said he only made the decision earlier this week.
His retirement follows teammate and teammate Andrew Fifita’s decision on Tuesday to leave the club at the end of the season.
Tolman made his debut in 2008 for Melbourne and spent 10 years at Canterbury before joining the Sharks in 2019.
“It’s probably only been in the last 48 hours that I got that answer,” Tolman said. “I want to come out here on a high.
“I know the time is right and I much prefer to be happy and win games.”
Tolman, who was born and raised on the north-north coast of New South Wales, said he hoped to move into a development role in the country of New South Wales.
The Sharks host Tolman’s former club Canterbury on Saturday as they aim to wrap up a top-two finish and secure a home semi-final.