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NRL NEWS: Olakau'atu facing ban, Former Shark sets up GoFundMe after horror injury, Klemmer warns Lomax

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22nd April, 2022
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Manly forward Haumole Olakau’atu is facing a minimum of a week out after being charged with a grade two careless high tackle.

He was binned for the shot on Aiden Tolman during Manly’s horror first half in Cronulla and was cited this morning. The incident was not spotted by the referees at the time, but called up by the bunker after the Sharks had scored a try.

If he accepts the Early Guilty Plea, Olakau’atu would miss next week’s clash with the Rabbitohs and if he contests the charge, it could be extended to two weeks.

Cronulla have come under fire for their part in the incident. Tolman was immediately removed for assessment – allowed under the rules as a free interchange – though the replays seemed to show that the contact was not directly with the head.

Tolman was taken for Andrew Fifita, but immediately subbed back for Cameron McInnes. Brad Fittler, on commentary, said: “We just saw a little abuse of the rules there. A free interchange, some shenanigans on the sideline. You’ve got to love coaches, don’t you?”

Ex-Sharks winger sets up fundraising campaign after shocking injury

Former Cronulla winger Nathan Stapleton has begun fundraising for his family after a horror injury left him quadriplegic.

Stapleton is currently in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney after fracturing his neck in a bush rugby union match on April 9 in West Wyalong, where he was playing for Boorowa Rugby Club.

He played 62 games in the NRL for the Sharks, as well as representing London Broncos in the UK, and is just 32 years of age. He has an 18-month old and his partner is currently pregnant with their second child.

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His family have begun a GoFundMe to help raise money for his recovery and family, with nearly $50,000 already committed by the public.

“Anyone who knows Nathan can attest to his determination and incredible work ethic,” reads the GoFundMe page.

“He has demonstrated this through his success playing in the NRL with both the Cronulla Sharks and the Sydney Roosters.

“There is no doubt that Nathan will bring that same determination and commitment to his rehab and recovery. There is no limit to what Nathan can achieve!”

Klemmer warns Lomax over taunting

Knights enforcer David Klemmer believes players who taunt opponents after a try should be sin-binned but Dragons forward Jaydn Su’A countered by saying Zac Lomax’s fine was ridiculous.

Lomax angered Newcastle when he jumped on the back of his former teammate Tyson Frizell after a Jack Bird try during St George Illawarra’s win in Wollongong on Sunday.

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Frizell responded by hurling Lomax to the ground, which nearly sparked a brawl. Klemmer delivered a few choice words to Lomax on full-time and the NRL match review committee charged the Dragons centre with contrary conduct, fining him $1000.

Klemmer told reporters he thought Lomax had crossed a line and said the NRL should look at clamping down on taunting behaviour.

“I know he was excited and I think he knows Tyson very well,” Klemmer said.

“He’s not the type of person to do that to. There are other larrikins in our team that you could probably jump on, but just knowing Tyson personally, I think he probably knows now that he shouldn’t have done it to him.

“I think if it escalates to a melee or a bad melee, definitely they could bring something like that [sin bins] in. If it does cause a melee or something, there should be some repercussions.”

Dragons skipper Ben Hunt said Lomax had learned his lesson from his antics while Su’A was adamant the NRL had over-reacted by charging the goal-kicking outside back.

“I think it [the fine] is ridiculous, but that’s not my call to make,” the second-rower said. “If they want to fine him $1000, he’s got plenty of money.”

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Sims set for Storm switch sooner rather than later

NSW Origin forward Tariq Sims could be on the move to Melbourne in the next few weeks after reportedly agreeing to a deal for 2023.

The St George Illawarra veteran, who was told he was free to leave this year if he could negotiate a deal that was favourable to the club, is set to ink a deal with the Storm for next year.

According to a Channel Nine report, officials from the Storm have contacted the Dragons about an early release.

Melbourne have been depleted in their pack this year with a season-ending Achilles injury to Maroons prop Christian Welch and Tui Kamikamica being stood down due to an assault charge.

Sims will also help bolster the pack next year when Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi head to the Dolphins and Brandon Smith links with the Roosters.

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Herbie back in England’s good books

Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth is back in England coach Shaun Wane’s plans for this year’s World Cup.

The Lancashire-born 22-year-old, who was once on Manchester United’s books, was dropped from Wane’s elite squad 12 months ago after failing to meet his standards off the pitch.

“He’s gone on the (zoom) meetings I’ve had with the (English) NRL players on time,” Wane said. “People might think that’s nothing but to me it’s everything.

“I watch him play every week and he’s doing well with Brisbane. He’s a talent and a good athlete and he’s playing really well. I can definitely see him playing in the World Cup.”

Wane’s contact with his NRL-based England players has been via zoom over the last two years but he will have the opportunity to speak face to face with them when he flies over for the Magic Weekend in Brisbane from May 13-15.

“I’m hoping to catch up with all of them while I’m over there,” he said. 

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“That’s the whole point, to spend time with them and make sure they see what the Super League-based players are seeing. It’s important to me that they don’t miss out.”

One NRL-based player already ruled out of the World Cup is Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson, which reduces Wane’s options for the number nine jersey but he says he will not make an effort to persuade James Roby to change his mind about retirement.

Roby, who recently played his 500th game for St Helens and has started his final season in impressive form, announced his retirement from the international game at the end of the 2021 season.

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