Manly's Toafofoa Sipley speaks out after 'robbing' Dom Young of Vegas showdown

The star Roosters recruit was cruelly ruled out of his side's Las Vegas match as a result of the tackle.

Pictured left to right, Manly's Toafofoa Sipley and Dom Young.
Manly's Toafofoa Sipley has apologised to Dom Young over the crusher tackle that has ruled them both out of the NRL's Las Vegas matches. Pic: Getty/X

Manly prop Toafofoa Sipley has apologised to Dom Young after admitting he "robbed" the star Roosters recruit of a ticket to Las Vegas for the NRL's season opening spectacle. Sipley's crusher tackle on Young during Saturday's pre-season game on the Central Coast saw the Manly forward banned for three matches and Young taken to hospital with a neck injury.

Young was able to walk off the ground after insisting he felt "all good" in the immediate aftermath of the incident but he was seen leaving the ground on a stretcher and placed into the back of an ambulance. Initial scans cleared Young of serious injury but the Roosters confirmed that follow-up tests showed he'd suffered a “soft tissue injury to his neck and will be treated conservatively" by the club's medical team.

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It means Young will miss the Roosters' historic season-opening match against Brisbane at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on March 2 (March 3 AEDT), in a cruel blow for the player, club and fans. Sipley will also miss the first game of the American double-header against South Sydney after taking the early guilty plea and accepting a three-game ban for a grade two crusher tackle.

Sipley stressed that the contentious tackle was an accident but admitted he needed to look at his technique after finding himself at the centre of similar incidents in the past. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph about the tackle on Young, the Manly prop said he had tried to contact the Roosters winger to apologise for "robbing" him of a chance to play in Las Vegas.

“I truly am sorry about what happened to Dom,” Sipley said. “It’s so unfortunate. There was no intent and it was an accident. Obviously, I’ve robbed Dom — and me — of a game in Vegas, which is really unfortunate. It’s definitely something I am trying to get out of my game (by working) with Jimmy Dymock, our wrestling coach."

Sipley conceded he'd had issues with crusher tackles a "couple of times in the past" and revealed that he went straight to the Roosters sheds after the match to try and apologise to Young. The Manly forward said he'd also tried to contact the Roosters recruit while he was in hospital and was determined to give Young a "face-to-face" apology the next time he sees him.

Roosters recruit Dom Young is set to miss the NRL season opener in Las Vegas after falling victim to a crusher tackle against Manly. Pic: Instagram/AAP
Roosters recruit Dom Young is set to miss the NRL season opener in Las Vegas after falling victim to a crusher tackle against Manly. Pic: Instagram/AAP

Trent Robinson admits Toff Sipley tackle was an 'accident'

Roosters coach Robinson also believed the tackle from Sipley was an "accident" but suggested he was lucky to stay on the field after the forceful contact to the back of Young's neck. "I thought it was accidental and didn't look good," Robinson said. "There was a lot of force at that point... I don't know what their (the referees') thought process is during the trial games... so I don't really have an opinion on that apart from exactly how it was."

Sipley says he never goes into a game of footy to injure an opponent but said accidents can happen in a split second in such a fast-paced game. Sipley made no excuses for his actions but explained that he had accidentally gotten into an "unfortunate angle" during the tackle on Young that saw his body weight come down forcefully on the back of the Roosters winger's neck.

The Manly middle forward would almost certainly have been part of the Sea Eagles' 17-man squad for the Las Vegas season-opener against South Sydney but will now miss the first three rounds. Sea Eagles teammate Josh Schuster also won't travel to the States after pulling up with calf soreness after a recent training session.

With prop Matt Lodge also out with a long-term injury, it's sure to test the depth of Manly's squad, particularly in the middle forwards. Veteran Aaron Woods and new recruit Aitasi James are in line to replace Sipley, while Schuster's absence will likely see Ben Trbojevic take his spot in the back-row, leaving one more bench spot in Anthony Seibold's 17-man squad.

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