Des Hasler hits out at NRL inconsistencies

·3-min read

Des Hasler has slammed inconsistencies in the NRL's head-high crackdown after Newcastle shocked Manly 18-10 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

In a drama-packed afternoon, Tyson Frizell was ruled out of NSW's State of Origin squad after he rolled his ankle and limped from the field late.

Without Kalyn Ponga, Kurt Mann and Mitchell Pearce, the Knights led 12-10 for the entire second-half before Daniel Saifiti crashed over late for just their second win in six weeks.

But the scoreboard was only part of the story.

Manly were twice reduced to 12 men through sin-bins, with a frustrated Hasler questioning how his team were penalised nine times and only received their first in the last minute.

He was also infuriated that Frizell was not binned for a high shot on Taupau, which was only placed on report at a later stoppage.

Taupau was then sent to the bin himself nine minutes later, when the bunker ordered play back two tackles and 50 metres to find a high shot.

In what was effectively a missed tackle, Taupau's shoulder hit Saifiti's jaw, only for the Knights forward to bump him off.

It came after Manly second-rower Sean Keppie was earlier lucky not to be sent off when he was only sin-binned for taking Phoenix Crossland high after a kick.

"I don't quite understand the rule about the sin bin," Hasler said.

"Our player attacked the head, on report, 10 minutes.

"But when Marty was carrying the ball he got hit high ... forceful contact with the head, that's (meant to be) a sin bin and they didn't get sent to the sin bin.

"There was no review on it. No going back to it. He wasn't right so there was some indication or cause there.

"And no sin-binning ... If we're going to go down this track we need to be consistent on it."

Keppie's time swung the match, with Newcastle crossing twice in the space of four minutes to go from 10-0 down to 12-10 up at halftime.

Tevita Funa was also placed on report for high contact and a crusher, with the Manly five-eighth lucky not to be sin-binned for the first of the incidents.

Second-rower Zac Saddler also finished the game in a stable condition in hospital with a depressed fracture of the skull following a head knock.

Hasler said he expected to hear from the NRL's head of football over his comments, implying pressure from above was hurting referees.

"It's very difficult with a 9-0 penalty count ... Benny Cummins is a much better referee than that. A much better referee than that," he said.

The dramas overshadowed a high-standard game, as Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic threatened in the second half.

The Manly halfback set up the first try of the day when he skipped past Mitchell Barnett with ease and allowed Karl Lawton to put Brad Parker over.

Jason Saab then put the visitors 10-0 up when he seized on a loose ball and sprinted 90 metres to score.

But Connor Watson made the difference with Keppie sin-binned on halftime.

He first stripped the Sea Eagles for numbers on their left for To'a to go over before putting Sauaso Sue under the posts to take a decisive lead at the break.

"We just needed to win," Knights coach Adam O'Brien said.

"It didn't matter if it was 2-0. We just needed to find a way and get that feel good back in the place."

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