Jack De Belin, a forward player for the Dragons, may become one of the few rugby players to challenge the NRL‘s ruling on hip-drop tackle this season, as he looks to dodge a suspension that would essentially spell the end of his season.
The suit of potential punishment came in the wake of Christian Tuipulotu‘s knee injury that could sideline him for as much as one month; indeed, Manly is still assessing the cost. Meanwhile, last Sunday, St George Illawarra was deliberating on whether they should contest a judiciary charge.
The Match Review Committee issued de Belin a grade two dangerous contact charge. This was in response to de Belin’s tackle on Sea Eagles‘ winger, Tuipulotu, during Manly’s groundbreaking victory at WIN Stadium the previous Saturday night.
A three-week suspension will be the verdict if de Belin admits guilt early, and if he chooses to challenge it at the judiciary and fails, the ban increases to four weeks. However, the Dragons are likely to gamble on a judiciary hearing against the tackle technique the NRL has focused on in 2023, as de Belin could evade the ban and incur a fine instead if he secures a downgrade.
The NRL‘s in-game review officials recommended that de Belin be temporarily expelled from the game (“sin-binned”) after examining his tackle.
With upcoming matches against formidable opponents such as the Eels, Rabbitohs, Storm and, Warriors, St George Illawarra is desperate to avoid a collision course with the Tigers and the dreaded wooden spoon sans de Belin, who has been one of their steadiest performers this season.
Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold has accepted the absence of Tuipulotu, the promising player who got sent for scans this past Sunday to evaluate a medial ligament injury, for several weeks. The Sea Eagles will take on the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday evening, with Ben Trbojevic potentially making a comeback.
Unfortunately, Tuipulotu will join team members Tom Trbojevic, Josh Aloiai and Taniela Paseka in the casualty ward. The latter was injured during a tackle that led to the suspension of Cronulla’s Jesse Colquhoun just a week earlier.
The Panthers, too, felt the sting from the match review committee on Sunday. Utility player Tyrone Peachey received a grade three careless high tackle charge for his hit on Cronulla’s Jack Williams. Despite being sin-binned, Peachey’s temporary dismissal did little to impact the Panthers, who clinched a 28-0 triumph at BlueBet Stadium.