NRL concedes bunker was wrong on Carrigan sin bin

·2-min read
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The NRL has conceded the bunker was wrong to sin bin Patrick Carrigan during Brisbane's loss to Melbourne, saying the Broncos prop did not perform a hip-drop tackle.

Carrigan was on Friday cleared of any wrongdoing for his tackle on Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona, meaning he will not be rubbed out of the State of Origin series opener.

But the decision will come as cold comfort to the Broncos, after Carrigan was sin-binned with scores locked at 10-10 in the 52nd minute of Thursday night's clash.

With Carrigan off the field, Melbourne kicked clear via a penalty goal and then scored a converted try on their way to a 24-16 win.

The NRL's head of football Graham Annesley confirmed on Friday the match review committee were right to clear Carrigan of foul play, and that the player should not have been binned.

"While there were elements of a hip-drop action in the tackle, the critical component of the bulk of the body weight falling directly on the legs was not present," Annesley said.

"On that basis, the match review committee has correctly not laid a charge.

"If the bunker had any doubt about the incident, it should have been placed on report and left to the match review committee to determine after the game."

The incident follows two months of confusion around hip-drop tackles.

Three weeks ago the bunker made the call to sin bin Ezra Mam and J'maine Hopgood for hip-drop tackles in Brisbane's win over Parramatta, but did not bin Payne Haas for a similar challenge.

The following day Haas and Mam were hit with grade-two charges, while Hopgood was given the lesser grade-one charge.

On Good Friday, Canterbury rookie Jacob Preston was sin-binned for a hip-drop tackle by the bunker but was not charged by the match review committee.

The NRL have argued there is no confusion over the indicators for a hip drop, with Annesley regularly showing examples in his weekly briefings to fans and the media.

The football department has also been asked by the ARL Commission to build a library of examples to provide education around the tackle.

But Thursday night's situation does little to help their cause.

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters and his Storm counterpart Craig Bellamy insisted after Thursday's match there was nothing wrong with Carrigan's tackle.

"You wouldn't like to see it happen in a grand final, someone get sin-binned for that," Walters said.

"He slid down his legs ... the NRL want you to slide down the legs and Patty did that."

Bellamy said the NRL were "inconsistent" with their rulings over the tackle.

Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh was the only player charged from Thursday's game, after avoiding any penalty from the bunker for a shoulder charge on Justin Olam.

He can take a $1500 fine.