Rugby league legend Paul Gallen has described the NRL as “frightened” following the referee’s decision to send off Sharks full-back Will Kennedy in the clash with the Warriors on Sunday.
Cronulla scored a famous victory over the New Zealand side at Shark Park, salvaging a 29-10 win despite being one man down in the 17th minute and two men down 10 minutes into the second half.
Sending Kennedy off the back of a “coat” tackle on Warriors speedster Reece Walsh led to Gallen, rugby league guru Phil Gould and many others slamming the decision.
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Both Gallen and Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy Monday night that although the Kennedy incident appeared “spectacular”, the crime did not warrant deportation.
Gallen revisited the drama surrounding Daniel Tupou on Anzac Day, which saw the Roosters winger receive neither a sending-off nor a sin for a high shot on Dragons flyer Mikaele Ravalawa.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted the referee erred in not clearing Tupou off the pitch, and the Habs veteran accepted a one-game ban.
Gallen said Kennedy’s expulsion was the product of Tupou not appealing.
“That’s the problem. They didn’t fire Tupou a few weeks ago, or give him 10 minutes in the trash, and that’s why the crackdown started again,” Gallen said, pointing to the crackdown of the NRL against the start of the high contacts. in last season’s Magic Round.
Daniel Tupou on the report for high tackle
“They’re scared…they have to stop being so reactive to the tackle.
“Will Kennedy’s one looked spectacular. Okay? It did. His legs were in the air. It looked crazy. But it wasn’t a send off.”
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The other incident in the Sharks game against the Warriors saw Cronulla center Jesse Ramien err in the 54th minute for a high shot on second rower Euan Aitken.
Despite the fact that Kennedy’s incident inflicted a heavier punishment than Ramien’s shot, Gallen and Gould both believe that Ramien’s shot was worse.
Gallen’s emphatic choice for the Blues’ No. 14 jumper
Nonetheless, Gould argued that even Ramien’s shot didn’t deserve a send-off.
“None of them are sent off. In today’s game you probably give them 10 minutes as a warning,” Gould said.
“The first one looked spectacular…and sometimes you have the ones that look like a hanger. Nobody hurt, nobody really got hit. What I said (during match coverage by Nine) was there is no swing arm, there is no intention to hurt.
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“That’s where I think a departure comes in.
“Ramien is where he comes in, he tries to assert himself in a tackle, which is allowed in our game. The other player (Aitken) dives a bit into the tackle and he’s just caught in the chin with his shoulder. But it’s still not an eviction offence.
“Ten minutes? I’m even funny about that.
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“I didn’t see any of them as eviction offences.”
Kennedy and Ramien were both charged with a level three reckless high tackle.
Kennedy will miss two games if he opts for an early guilty plea, or three if he fights the charge in court and loses.
Ramien had a previous offense and will therefore miss three games with an early guilty plea, or four with an unsuccessful challenge.
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