Nathan Brown, the muscular powerhouse of the Roosters, has escaped serious sanction. He was slapped with a grade 2 careless charge for his head-high tackle on Ben Trbojevic during Thursday’s 26-16 triumph over the Sea Eagles. Avoiding a major ban, Brown could face only a single match suspension should he accept an early guilty plea. However, contesting the decision and losing would result in a two-match ban. Brown follows Jacob Saifiti from Newcastle to be the second NRL player this year to be dismissed from the field.
The experienced forward had barely been on the field for half a minute when he sprinted from the line and hit Trbojevic high. Referee Ashley Klein believed that there was deliberate intent in the tackle and that Brown had left the ground to execute the tackle.
In the game which saw a total of 34 penalties and resets, Brown’s charge was the sole disciplinary action from the match. However Trent Robinson, the coach of the Roosters, cast doubt on the decision to send Brown off.
“We’ve experienced high tackles and shoulder charges,” Robinson shared. “Yes, it was a high tackle – he hit him in the neck, but it didn’t affect Trbojevic. He quickly moved on, which wasn’t penalised and went untouched.
“I’m not condoning it, and it’s unfortunate for Ben. However, far worse atrocities occur in the sport, yet this gets a send-off?”
“Players have been severely concussed from high tackles, unnoticed in tonight’s game”, Robinson elaborated.
Send offs have been a rare occurrence this year in NRL. We see instances only in respect to Jarome Luai and Reece Walsh, who were instructed to leave post-game in State of Origin, while Ash Werner from the Broncos was dismissed from an NRLW game for biting.
Robinson stated that a red card would have been justified in rugby union for Brown’s tackle. However, he asserted that a send off went overboard, given the history of adjudications in NRL.
“Given two extra players, that would have justified a send-off,” he argued. “In the alternative code, this conduct would have resulted in multiple weeks of disqualifications. But ignore that game. In ours, that’s not our method of judgement.”
“I foresee that they will argue for a send-off, but I can provide examples of worse tackles that did not result in dismissals from the game”, concluded Robinson.