Former NRL star under fire after tackle hospitalises opponent in UK

Blake Austin has drawn the ire of English league fans after a clumsy tackle which hospitalised his Super League opponent in round two.

The former Canberra Raider is facing suspension for the hit, which KO’d Hull KR captain Joel Tomkins.

Many described the hit as ‘disgusting’, while others vented frustration that the Warrington recruit only copped 10 minutes in the sin bin for his trouble.


Tomkins was taken to hospital by ambulance, but has since been discharged.

Escapes charge

Blake Austin tackles Joel Tomkins.

Despite the outcry, the Rugby Football League’s match review panel found the contact between Austin and Tomkins was accidental.

The panel also found the yellow-card penalty for Austin was sufficient.

Austin left the Raiders at the end of 2018 to join English club Warrington.

It was the former Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year’s second match for his new club.

Coach’s concern

Warrington Wolves’ Blake Austin is tackled by Hull Kingston Rovers’ George Lawler during the Betfred Super League match at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington. (Photo by Dave Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images)

Hull KR coach Tim Sheens said he was concerned for his player’s safety, but admitted it would have been tough for the referee to do more.

“Joel had to go to hospital in an ambulance and he’s a sick boy and in a bad way and we are concerned for him,” Sheens said.

“I think the player concerned may have a little worry this week but it doesn’t help us for the fact in the 10 minutes he was off we scored a try.

“It’s a tough one for referees because he doesn’t know he’s hit him that hard he has put him in hospital, and it doesn’t matter if you are lying on the ground or running through, if you get hit flush on the head you are going to have a problem.

“I’m not whingeing about it though, it’s difficult for referees but losing my captain and influential player in the squad for most of the game was a concern.”