NRL fans have turned the spotlight on Broncos forward Payne Haas who has escaped with just a fine after a hip-drop tackle on Nathan Cleary, which has ruled the Panthers halfback out for the Kangaroos. Cleary was the game-changer for the Panthers as his all-time performance saw him drag his team to a third-straight NRL premiership.
The halfback has entered elite territory and Cleary has been compared with the game's legends after his performance. However, fans won't get to see him back up his performance for Australia after the Penrith halfback had his leg caught underneath Broncos forward Haas in the 10th minute of the NRL grand final.
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Cleary got up gingerly and shook off the injury, before delivering a final 20 minute masterclass. On Tuesday, Cleary was once again selected for the Kangaroos for the upcoming Pacific Tests having helped guide Australia to a World Cup win last year.
But he was withdrawn from the squad just 24 hours later after succumbing to the injury. Nicho Hynes has been brought into the squad as a result, while Daly Cherry-Evans will likely become the first-choice halfback.
Paas was hit with an $1,800 fine for the tackle on Cleary, which was deemed to be a hip-drop. And fans have now turned the attention on Haas to how the tackle only copped a fine.
The NRL has punished hip-drop tackles throughout the 2023 season with Haas suspended earlier in the year for another hip-drop tackle against the Eels. Dale Finucane was one star to face a lengthy suspension, with hip-drop tackle charges doubling at one stage during the season.
While Haas' tackle may not be deemed worthy of a lengthy suspension, fans have been left bewildered to how Haas has escaped further punishment. Others were upset Cleary won't play for his nation after such a captivating NRL grand final.
All year HipDrop declared dangerous & Suspension. Haas gets fine. Cleary misses Kangaroos. NRL Judiciary Farcical, Bunker, Refs a Joke. Absoluteley no consistancy in games.Vlandys comments on Walsh absurd. Face of NRL in USA Get over it.
— Robert (@Robert44183163) October 4, 2023
Haas only fined $1800, what will it cost Cleary if he's unavailable for the Kangaroos?
— Dabear 🐾🖤❤🏆🏆🏆💚🖤🐾 🇦🇺 (@GHousbey) October 3, 2023
They've got Haas to thank for that.
— Amarillo (@Amarillo1942237) October 4, 2023
Can't begrudge the way the GF was refereed, but for that to only be a fine just screams protected international. That is exactly the tackle that they need to get out of the game
— 3peat Complete (@ChuckRogers22) October 4, 2023
Fair effort from Payne Haas to ruin the broncos and then the kangaroos
— Alex Stewart (@AlJStew) October 4, 2023
Haas lucky to get away with that one.
— Gavin Curbishley (@gcurb69) October 3, 2023
Player potentially misses international games from an illegal tackle, but hey at least the ref let the game flow
— Shaun 🍣 (@TheShaunChand) October 3, 2023
'NRL Physio' Brien Seeney commented that Cleary could have sustained an MCL sprain with Haas' full weight appearing to land on his leg. Cleary's injury isn't thought to be overly serious and won't keep him out long term.
The injury revelation puts Cleary's grand final masterclass into a whole new perspective. The co-captain turned the game on its head with a 40-20 kick, before two assists and the match-winning try to turn a 24-8 deficit into a 26-24 victory.
Kangaroos squad uproar over James Tedesco selection
A number of exclusions from the Kangaroos squad sparked uproar on Tuesday. The omissions of Reece Walsh and Dylan Edwards have come under fire, with incumbent James Tedesco keeping his position despite a sub-par year.
Tedesco didn't have his best season in 2023 and Meninga picked a number of outside backs who can cover fullback if need be.Versatile Queenslanders Valentine Holmes, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Selwyn Cobbo have all won selection, with Meninga unable to find room for a back-up specialist fullback.
Meninga stayed loyal to his captain, who led the Kangaroos to glory at the World Cup in 2022. It means a fullback who probably wasn't in the top three at his position this year is the Australian No.1.
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