Rabbitohs winger Taane Milne has been savaged by NRL fans and commentators after becoming the first player sent off in a finals match since 1994 on Saturday night.
Milne was given his marching orders after a horrible swinging arm collected Spencer Leniu straight in the face as the Panthers advanced to the grand final with a 32-12 win over South Sydney.
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Leniu had just made a barnstorming charge after running over the top of Kodi Nikorima before coming to Latrell Mitchell and Milne near the try line.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) September 24, 2022
Milne then produced one of the worst high tackles in recent years as his swinging arm connected with Leniu's face and left him heavily concussed.
There were ugly scenes as Leniu appeared to challenge Milne to a fight while both players were leaving the field - Milne because he was sent off and Leniu for a Head Injury Assessment.
Milne was the first player to be sent off in a finals match since Johnny Lomax and Gary Larson were both given their matching orders in 1994 for a spear tackle on David Furner in a match between North Sydney and Canberra.
all happening as spencer leniu shoves off kodi nikorima (rip), makes a break down the field
after losing the ball taane milne swinging arm goes high and gets sent off the field#NRLPanthersSouths #NRLFinals pic.twitter.com/AU9ZRMwGxK
— nrl bits (@nrlbits) September 24, 2022
Penrith captain Isaah Yeo wasn't particularly impressed with Milne after the Rabbitohs winger had been sin-binned twice for high tackles against the Roosters earlier in the finals.
“It’s happened a couple of times now. He had every chance to drop his arm or make contact somewhere else but he flushed him in the head," Yeo said.
Braith Anasta said in commentary for Fox Sports: “Is that the worst shot you have ever seen? That was a shocking tackle.
“He got sin-binned twice a couple of weeks ago against the Roosters, and tonight he was sent off.”
Corey Parker added: “It was awful and stupid and puts everyone under pressure, it also alleviates any sort of comeback.
“If you are playing with someone like that, it puts your team under so much pressure, off the back of that it makes it really difficult.”
Absolutely disgusting from Souths. Had to go. What a cheap shot from Milne. Souths Played that garbage against the Roosters. Won’t get away with it tonight. #NRLPanthersSouths
— Robert Grasso (@RobertGrasso) September 24, 2022
That’s five weeks plus. What a grubby act #NRLPanthersSouths
— Liam Warren (@liam_warren94) September 24, 2022
Early shower for Taane Milne… and rightfully so. That was shocking #NRLPanthersSouths
— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) September 24, 2022
Taane Milne, complete liability
— Nick Tedeschi (@Tedeschi8181) September 24, 2022
— Bogues Ⓥ 🌱 (@bogues2zoners) September 24, 2022
Taane Milne should have been sent off twice in 3 finals matches this year. Low act tonight. He knew what he was doing. #NRLPanthersSouths
— Thomas Hudson (@tommyhud9) September 24, 2022
South Sydney left to rue golden opportunity missed
Saturday night's meeting with Penrith was the Rabbitohs' fifth preliminary final in a row, but despite their continued ability to go deep into September, their wait for a title continues.
Up 12-0 with 36 minutes gone in the first half at Accor Stadium, Souths were in control of their own destiny and Penrith were there to be beaten.
A grand final meeting with Parramatta, whom Souths have beaten in their last six games, was beckoning.
By full-time they were down to 12 men and had lost by 20 points.
"We did a great job first for 35 minutes to put some pressure on them but we weren't able to maintain it," said Souths coach Jason Demetriou.
"Even at 12-12 at half-time we probably need to be better than that."
The Rabbitohs' defence, which made all but eight tackles in the first half, had 21 misses after the break and Penrith were happy to expose their frailties.
"We struggled to get punch and field position and Penrith do what they do," Demetriou said.
"They put you in your end and make it hard to get out.
"You've got to be as relentless as they are."
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