It’s hard following rugby league on TV at times. There’s a wide range of views available, all thrown at you at once by panels and pundits.
That said, it’s hard to remember a time when the commentators were so split on a single decision as after lat night’s red card, shown to Manly’s Karl Lawton after his spear tackle on South Sydney captain Cam Murray.
If you were watching Fox League, it was a fairly cut and dried send off. Michael Ennis was on the call at the time, telling main commentator Dan Ginnane: “That’s very, very dangerous. It was a bad one. He came up and underneath, drops low but it’s that last lifting motion where he almost just flips him at the last minute.
Murray (was) lucky not be hurt. I’m not surprised (at the decision).”
Greg Alexander, discussing it on the half time coverage, said the refs had got it spot on.
“I thought it was a send-off offence. We have had players get players in positions and this is the tackle that we want to stamp out.
“Players that get a player up in an awkward position don’t go on with it like that, and Karl Lawton drove him into the ground head first.
“Cameron Murray twisted his head and landed on his shoulder, but it could have been a little different. I’ve got no argument with it being a send-off.”
If you were on the free-to-air coverage, apparently being broadcast from 1981, you would have heard the complete opposite from Phil Gould.
“No one is hurt, everyone is OK,” he said. “Settle down. He doesn’t need a spell,. To be sent off for that, when there is no injury to the player, I find it extraordinary … if that’s your product, I give up.”
NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, on the sideline for 9, added: “I’m in support of Gus. I didn’t think at any stage that deserved a send-off.
“You see a lot of these players get in that situation and they will drop their heads to the ground… I thought that could’ve been an awful lot worse and I really can’t believe he’s walking past me on the sidelines.”
The judiciary clearly were watching Fox League: Lawton will be out for a month minimum after the tackle, which was classified as a grade-three dangerous throw, unless he can somehow prove his innocence. If he challenges at the judiciary, he could be banned for five games.