Dale Finucane charged after Panthers fume over 'car crash' incident

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Stephen Crichton, pictured here after his ear was badly damaged in a tackle by Dale Finucane.
Stephen Crichton's ear was badly damaged in a tackle by Dale Finucane. Image: Getty

Cronulla forward Dale Finucane has been hit with a grade three dangerous contact charge after a nasty collision that resulted in Stephen Crichton suffering a badly lacerated ear.

In a dramatic ending to Penrith's win 20-10 win over the Sharks on Saturday night, Crichton was hit high by Finucane after the Cronulla lock rushed out of the line to put on a big shot.

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Crichton crashed straight to ground and later admitted he remembered little of the game, with his ear later resembling that of Evander Holyfield's after his fight with Mike Tyson.

He was later sent to hospital after Penrith doctor Scott Reid temporarily put the ear back together, but Crichton will be needing a date with a plastic surgeon.

Referee Ashley Klein didn't penalise Finucane for the hit despite replays appearing to show his shoulder making contact with Crichton's head.

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary questioned Klein's decision not to sanction Finucane in his post-match press conference.

"I'm sure the last thing Dale Finucane wanted to do was injure 'Critta'," Cleary said after the game.

"Historically head clashes have been a head clash.

"But I just think how easy it is to give a high-tackle penalty away now, contact with the head. It just looked bad.

"Critta is not in a great way. There is certainly an argument for careless. But that is currently the game and interpretations."

Panthers players, pictured here taking exception to Dale Finucane's hit on Stephen Crichton.
Panthers players take exception to Dale Finucane's hit on Stephen Crichton. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

The Sharks were adamant the incident was nothing more than a head clash, but Cleary didn't agree.

"I thought we would at least get a penalty," Cleary said.

"I'm not exactly sure of interpretations (around sin-bins or send-offs), but it is clearly contact with the head.

"It knocks him out. That was like a car crash. It's weird that that is okay, but the mildest of taps sometimes isn't okay."

Dale Finucane facing three-match suspension

Finucane could miss as many as three NRL games for making dangerous contact with Crichton, despite escaping on-field sanction for the hit.

The match review committee charged the Cronulla forward with grade three dangerous contact - the worst category applicable - on Sunday morning.

He will miss two matches if he takes an early guilty plea but risks sitting out three if he takes his case to the NRL judiciary.

The Sharks face South Sydney, St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers in their next three games.

Dale Finucane, pictured here in action for Cronulla against Penrith.
Dale Finucane in action for Cronulla against Penrith. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Penrith second-rower Viliame Kikau has been fined $1500 for a shoulder charge on Cronulla winger Connor Tracey.

Elsewhere, Melbourne's Nelson Asofa-Solomona was charged twice for hits on South Sydney captain Cameron Murray during the Rabbitohs' win on Saturday night.

Asofa-Solomona can escape suspension by accepting a $3000 fine for each hit but could miss a combined total of four matches if he unsuccessfully challenges his charges at the judiciary.

with AAP

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