'What a joke': Rugby league world fumes over NRL 'disgrace'

·6-min read
Drew Hutchison is seen here clutching his ribs after copping knees in the side from Dylan Brown.
Drew Hutchison suffered a punctured lung and suspected broken ribs after copping knees in the side from Dylan Brown. Pic: Getty

The NRL has come under fire from fans, commentators and Roosters coach Trent Robinson, in the wake of his side's controversial defeat to Parramatta on Friday night.

The already injury-ravaged Roosters went down 31-18 in a gutsy performance against the Eels after finishing the game with just 15 men and playmaker Drew Hutchison taken to hospital.

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The game's biggest talking points came at the end of a dramatic first half where Marata Niukore was put on report for two shoulder charges within a minute.

Niukore's hit on Sam Walker was late, before a shoulder charge on James Tedesco caught the Roosters skipper in the head - yet he still wasn't sin-binned.

Seconds after that incident on Tedesco, the fullback's teammate Hutchison was on the wrong end of a sickening incident that left him in hospital.

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The 26-year-old was trying to score a try when Dylan Brown landed heavily on his back after leading with his knees in scrambling defence.

Brown was placed on report, but the Eels half was controversially allowed to remain on the field, instead of spending time in the sin bin.

Should Brown have been binned, the Roosters would have been able to call on their 18th man, teenager Joseph Suaalii to make his NRL debut.

The incident happened at the end of the first half and Hutchison was in agony. He was helped from the field and an ambulance was called to take him to hospital.

Despite commentators calling for the Bunker to interject, the Eels player was allowed to stay on the field, sparking outrage from viewers on social media.

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Roosters coach Robinson was equally outraged and accused the league of failing to deliver on its crackdown on foul play.

Just two days ago, the NRL sent an email to clubs and officials encouraging the use of the sinbin and calling for minimal tolerance for avoidable contact with the head or neck.

The edict came out of concern for players suffering injuries from foul play, but acted as the most unfortunate prediction for Friday night's controversy at Bankwest Stadium.

"Don't send a letter and then not back it up," Robinson fumed after the match.

"That incident (with Brown and Hutchison) wasn't good enough from the Bunker and the referees."

Seen here, two incidents of foul play involving the Parramatta Eels against the Roosters in the NRL.
Two Parramatta Eels players escaped being sent to the bin in a chaotic end to the first half against the Roosters. Pic: Fox Sports

Making the situation even more embarrassing for the NRL and viewers watching, was the fact Brown wasn't placed on report until after halftime.

Robinson fumed at the response time, with around 20 minutes passing between the incident and the decision to put Brown on report which gave the Roosters a free interchange for foul play.

Roosters coach slams 'incompetent' Bunker

"There was no action whatsoever on the field," Robinson said.

"We couldn't even replace Drew with a free interchange because it wasn't even on report at that stage.

"They looked at it 10 times and they couldn't find anything.

"And then, they had all of halftime and we run out on the field and they say, 'it's on report now'.

"They could have told us 10 minutes in, so I could have changed them in the dressing room.

"But they told us as we were running out on the field, so I had to make a split-second change as soon as we ran out on the field. It's ridiculous. That's incompetent."

Robinson said he will not ask the NRL for a 'please explain' because they should already be concerned about the flaws in the system.

"They don't need me to ask the question, they should be looking at it themselves," he said.

"How does it take 20 minutes to put someone on report, or to get that information to me when they had a lot of looks at it.

"They should have put it on report on field, really simply.

"Honestly, how many looks did they need?

"It's just poor."

The latest injuries come at the worst possible time for the Roosters who already have a packed casualty ward with Luke Keary, Boyd Cordner, Sam Verrills, Jake Friend, Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins all sidelined.

Earlier in the game they also lost star forward Victor Radley to a failed HIA after he copped the knees of Shaun Lane while trying to make a tackle.

with AAP

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