'That was sickening': NRL rocked by 'awful' Anzac Day incident

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, pictured here being knocked unconscious in sickening scenes.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was knocked unconscious in sickening scenes. Image: Fox Sports/Getty

The NRL was rocked by frightening scenes on Monday night after Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was knocked unconscious after collecting the knee of Storm prop Nelson Asofa Solomona.

Melbourne ran in 10 unanswered tries in the second half to post a record 70-10 victory in their Anzac Day clash at AAMI Park.

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It equalled Melbourne's previous biggest score - the last time coming in 2000 when the Storm beat the Dragons 70-10 and Warriors coach Nathan Brown was captaining the Dragons.

Melbourne's 54-point second half haul was the most by any team in the NRL era.

The floodgates opened for the Storm after Watene-Zelezniak was knocked senseless when trying to prevent a Ryan Papenhuyzen try.

Watene-Zelezniak was beaten to a high ball by Papenhuyzen and then was accidentally kneed in the head by Asofa Solomona on his way to the ground.

The Warriors winger was unconscious before he hit the ground, sickeningly landing face first on the turf.

He appeared to be knocked out for a number of minutes before regaining consciousness.

Medical staff immediately rushed to Watene-Zelezniak's aid, and he was eventually taken from the ground on a medicab after a number of frightening minutes.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, pictured here leaving the field on a medicab during the Warriors' loss to the Storm.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak leaves the field on a medicab during the Warriors' loss to the Storm. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Fox League sideline reporter Jake Duke reported that Watene-Zelezniak was showing good signs as he was taken from the field.

“The good news is he is conscious, he is responsive in the Warriors changing room after that nasty head knock,” Duke said.

“They told me it did take him a while to come around. But the good news is that they are pretty confident it is a concussion, but no other issues in regard to his face.”

Fans and commentators were left rattled by the scary scenes.

Nathan Brown says Warriors players 'gave up'

The Warriors were starved of possession in the second half, completing just two sets from seven.

Brown said some players "looked for the easiest way out".

Asked if they gave up he replied: "Some people did - I've got no doubt at all.

"I've been in this game a long time and it's disappointing to actually sit here and say that but some people looked for the easiest way out they could and that's sad.

"That's not a reflection of all the players - we had some that worked extremely hard and put themselves on the line."

Winger Xavier Coates scored four tries among the Storm's 13 but had to share star status with Papenhuyzen.

Jahrome Hughes, pictured here celebrating a try with Ryan Papenhuyzen during Melbourne's win over the Warriors.
Jahrome Hughes celebrates a try with Ryan Papenhuyzen during Melbourne's win over the Warriors. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The fullback scored twice in the space of five minutes in the second half to break the back of the Warriors and put the game out of reach.

Winner of the Anzac Medal, he finished with a personal haul of 22 points from his 68 minutes before being rested.

The visitors were well in the hunt in the opening 40 minutes and only trailed 16-10 at half-time.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy described the first half as an "arm wrestle" but said not much went the Warriors way in the second.

"The Warriors had a lot of things go wrong the second half and obviously with those injuries, I don't think they had anyone on the bench," Bellamy said.

"But having said that I can't really fault too much of what we did.

"It was a really dominant performance and I'm real happy with outcome and the performance of our players."

with AAP

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