'He is wrong': Alex McKinnon responds to Phil Gould controversy

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·Sports Reporter
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Former NRL player Alex McKinnon (pictured right) entering the field and (pictured left) Gus Gould during commentary.
Former NRL player Alex McKinnon (pictured right) has labelled Gus Gould's (pictured left) view on Karl Lawton's send-off as 'crazy'. (Getty Images)

Former NRL player Alex McKinnon has weighed-in on Karl Lawton's spear tackle send-off that has seen veteran commentator Gus Gould slam the decision from the referee.

Gould and NSW coach Brad Fittler sparked controversy on the weekend when they both said Lawton's dangerous spear tackle on Cameron Murray was not a send-off offence.

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During commentary, Gould was among the most outspoken critics of the decision to send off the Manly player, arguing that the primetime spectacle was ruined in an incident Murray wasn't injured in.

“It’s just momentum. No-one’s hurt, everyone’s OK. Settle down,” Gould said after the tackle.

“He doesn’t need a spell.”

Gould has copped a lot of push back to his claims, but one of the biggest voices to speak out against him now is McKinnon.

The former Newcastle Knights forward was left wheelchair bound after a horror spear tackle in 2014.

Speaking to the Fox League Podcast, McKinnon made it clear that Lawton's tackle was different to the type that left him in a wheelchair.

Manly's Karl Lawton (pictured) tackling Cameron Murray.
Manly's Karl Lawton (pictured) was sent off in the NRL for this dangerous tackle on the Rabbitohs' Cameron Murray. (Image: Chanel Nine)

However, McKinnon said it's 'crazy' to think such a dangerous tackle shouldn't be stamped out of the game altogether.

“If you sit here now or you sat there watching the game on Friday night and thought that a spinal cord injury could not come from that tackle, and also how close it could come from that tackle, you are crazy," McKinnon said.

Alex McKinnon breaks down Gus Gould's view

McKinnon went on to explain that he is friends with Fittler and has been an avid listener of Gould since he was a child.

And while respecting their views, the former NRL forward said the game and safety of players has moved on from the time the pair were playing and or coaching the game.

“They are very, and Gus in particular, he is stuck in a way in which he wants to see the game played, and the way he wants to see obstructions played and ruled on, the video ref, the bunker, there is a lot of different things that he looks at and thinks you don’t need those things," McKinnon added.

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 29: Karl Lawton of the Sea Eagles is sent off after a dangerous tackle during the round eight NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium, on April 29, 2022, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 29: Karl Lawton of the Sea Eagles is sent off after a dangerous tackle during the round eight NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium, on April 29, 2022, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“Sure he has hung his hat on this one and he went again last night in regards to why he thought it wasn’t a send off.

“I just think he is wrong, simple as that.”

Lawton will spend one month on the sidelines after being hit with the highest-possible grade for a dangerous throw under the game's judicial system.

The Manly forward pleaded guilty and accepted a four-match ban after being charged with a grade-three offence.

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