Broncos star Patrick Carrigan has been referred directly to the NRL judiciary for a hip-drop tackle and is facing a lengthy suspension in a significant blow to Brisbane’s hopes of finishing the season in the top four.
Interim coach Brett Kimmorley described it as a “horrendous” tackle on Jackson Hastings in Saturday night’s Suncorp Stadium stoush won by the Tigers.
Hastings limped off and the Tigers have confirmed he suffered a broken ankle and will not play again until 2023.
Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo could be banned for two weeks if he contests a grade-one shoulder charge offence but can escape with a $3000 fine. He clocked Dragons prop Blake Lawrie in the 64th minute of Sunday’s win at Kogarah.
St George Illawarra forward Jaydn Su’A ($1800-$2500 for contrary conduct) and Knights veteran Anthony Milford ($1500-$2000 for a shoulder charge) were the only other players charged from Sunday’s matches and have until midday on Tuesday to enter a plea.
Panthers star Nathan Cleary has accepted an early guilty plea for his dangerous tackle on Parramatta’s Dylan Brown and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Elsewhere, South Sydney will be without Tom Burgess for next week’s match against the Warriors after he was hit with a grade-two careless high-tackle charge. He avoided the chance of a two-game ban if he had contested the charge.
Cleary’s send-off doomed the Panthers to their second loss of the season on Friday night and the following day he was offered a five-match ban.
Kimmorley was fuming over the Carrigan incident.
“I thought the tackle was a pretty ordinary tackle,” Kimmorley said. “It is something that has crept into the game a little bit and it needs to be looked after because it’s a horrendous tackle and the outcome can be really bad.”
Carrigan applied pressure to Hastings’ lower leg in the tackle. He avoided the sin bin on Saturday night but was referred on Sunday straight to the judiciary without having the option to enter a plea.
On Tuesday night, he will appear before the two-man judiciary panel which could take the severity of Hastings’ injury into account as it determines Carrigan’s penalty.
Carrigan is in career-best form and any long-term suspension could jeopardise the Broncos’ hopes of securing a top-four finish and a double chance in the finals series.
With the loss to the Tigers, Brisbane slipped to fifth but are on the same number of competition points as the sides directly above and below them on the ladder.
With Luke Brooks out for 4-5 more weeks with a calf strain, Jock Madden and Adam Doueihi are set to be the Tigers’ halves for the final five rounds.
Cleary’s ban means the Panthers will now be without both their first-choice playmakers for at least a month, with five-eighth Jarome Luai racing the clock to be back from an MCL injury before the end of the regular season.
Burgess became the first South Sydney player to be sent off since Jaiman Lowe in 2007 after the tackle on Cronulla’s Ronaldo Mulitalo in extra time of the Sharks’ golden-point win.
Having already been penalised three times in the game, Burgess was given his marching orders during extra-time, opening the door for the Sharks to capitalise on the extra-man advantage and seal victory with a field goal.
Burgess accepted a one-match ban with an early guilty plea soon after the charges were announced on Sunday.
Canberra prop Joseph Tapine has escaped suspension for allegedly striking Gold Coast’s Aaron Booth but has been charged with contrary conduct for his role in sparking a scuffle between the sides on Saturday.
Referee Ben Cummins sent Tapine to the sin bin just before half-time after he appeared to throw a punch at Booth, who Tapine claimed had targeted him with a cannonball tackle.
But bunker referee Kasey Badger cleared the contact and only Tapine was punished on-field. Tapine has accepted a $1000 fine.
Manly debutant Alfred Smalley has entered an early guilty plea to cop a one-game ban for a high tackle on Roosters rake Sam Verrills while Egan Butcher is also out of Round 21 after taking a grade-two careless high tackle charge for a hit on James Segeyaro.
Two other players have been fined, including Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($3000) for his forearm on Zac Fulton, Warriors utility Jackson Frei for dangerous contact on Harry Grant.