During a Thursday night game at the SCG, Roosters player Nathan Brown was controversially dismissed for a high tackle, a ruling that sparked intense debate among team members and coach Trent Robinson. Brown, who had entered the field less than a minute before the incident, committed the offensive tackle against Ben Trbojevic, striking his head with a forceful arm in the game’s latter half.
Referee Ashley Klein held a discussion with Brown, a former lock forward for the Eels, informing him of his transgression: “The issue is you’ve run out of the line with intent there, you’ve left the ground” and subsequently proceeded with the eviction.
Roosters’ captain James Tedesco, witnessed the action on the field, registered his surprise and disappointment at the decision, especially considering the team would now have to operate without Brown.
Tedesco’s reaction was echoed in the subsequent press conference, as Trent Robinson criticised the unexpected ruling. Robinson queried when the rules had become so strict, resulting in players getting sent off for tackles.
“No doubt we’ve seen high tackles and shoulder charges. Still, the tackle in question was a high shot that hit the neck, but it didn’t impact Trbojevic at all,” voiced a skeptical Robinson.
“He quickly recovered and even managed to throw an elbow unpunished. We don’t want to see this, and while it wasn’t ideal for Ben, there were far worse cases not given the same harsh punishment.”
“If tonight’s game is any indication of an altered approach to the rules, then that’s acceptable, but there’s no consistency with previous decisions. We’ve had players seriously affected by high shots but playing on, so why this particular incident stood out is beyond me,” Robinson added.
Robinson suggested that a sin bin, which allows Trbojevic to continue play, would have made more sense for Brown’s tackle, considering previous games.
With a contrasting viewpoint, Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold agreed with the send-off decision for Brown. “It was a foul play, and although I don’t believe it was intentional, I understand why he was sent off,” commented Seibold.
However, Brown’s send-off meant the odds were even for eight minutes as Manly’s Toafofoa Sipley was side-lined for repeated penalties.
In the post-game discussion, Gorden Tallis emphasised, “This behaviour was unwise… I admire aggression in the field, but the line is drawn at reckless tackles. You have to go for the right targets.”