Carrigan cops four NRL games for tackle

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A dejected Patrick Carrigan says he never meant to cause injury to Jackson Hastings after being hit with a four-game ban by the NRL judiciary.

On a night full of drama, the NRL's lawyers pleaded with the judiciary to make an example of the Brisbane prop for the hip-drop tackle that broke Hastings' fibula and left him with ankle damage.

The two-man panel of Henry Perenara and Dallas Johnson took into account Hastings' injury in rubbing Carrigan out until the last round of the regular season, but did not accede to the six-match ban requested by the NRL.

It came after an 85-minute hearing where Carrigan's lawyer suggested he should receive as little as two games based on precedence from a Josh McGuire tackle last year.

"I am a little disappointed with the result," Carrigan said afterwards.

"I certainly didn't have any intent or malice with what happened, but I am obviously aware Jackson will miss a bit of footy.

"I just wish him all the best with his recovery. My focus now is to be as supportive as I can for the Broncos and for the next four weeks help them out."

The verdict comes as a blow to the fifth-placed Broncos' top-four hopes, with matches against the Sydney Roosters, Newcastle, Melbourne and Parramatta in that period.

NRL lawyer Patrick Knowles claimed Carrigan had joined the tackle late and forced Hastings legs into an unnatural position after falling on them.

Knowles also pointed to a memorandum from the NRL's head of football Graham Annesley in July 2020 which detailed the dangers of the tackle style.

He pleaded with the panel to send a message to all players with their punishment.

"It is important given the serious risk of injury that a message be sent to deter other players in the future from a similar kind of conduct," Knowles said.

"Players must expect that there will be a sanction and potentially a very strict sanction for engaging in the type of conduct that is intended to create an advantage, but puts players in a serious risk of harm."

He also argued Hastings' three-to-five-month injury layoff should be taken into account, while stopping short of asking for an equivalent ban.

"I don't urge the judiciary to adopt an eye-for-an-eye approach," Knowles said.

"But nor should you ignore the fact this tackle did have a significant impact on Hastings' career."

Carrigan's lawyer Nick Ghabar argued while the Queensland State of Origin star had shown some carelessness in the way he had landed on Hastings' leg, the control of the tackle lay with teammates.

He pointed to the way fellow defenders Cory Paix and Keenan Palasia had twisted Hastings once Carrigan was already on his leg.

"Common sense suggests Carrigan became powerless to stop the force that was continually and substantially applied to the foot of Hastings," Ghabar said.

Ghabar also relied upon the views of a third-party doctor who had seen the incident while making a point the tackle was not as bad as McGuire's, which was effectively graded as milder than Carrigan's.

"They're not even in the same ballpark," Ghabar said.

"McGuire was highly reckless, Carrigan was nowhere near so".

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