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The Roar


'In that other code, it would have been sent off': Robinson compares decision to rugby union as Brown ban revealed

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3rd August, 2023
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Trent Robinson has let loose on referee Ashley Klein after Nathan Brown’s send off in the Roosters’ victory over Manly on Thursday night at the SCG.

The coach was left bemused by the decision to march Brown, who had only entered the game for the first time just 30 seconds prior, for a high tackle on Ben Trbojevic.

In the morning charges, Brown received just one match with the Early Guilty Plea or two if he fights the charge – relatively light given that Val Holmes, who was only binned for a high shot last week, ended up with four matches on the sideline.

Robinson did not question whether it was a penalty, or even that it might have been a sin bin, but baulked at the idea that it was worth a dismissal.

The coach compared the officiating standards of rugby league and rugby union, pointing out that while tackles such as Brown’s would be routinely met with a red card in the 15-man code, they almost never are in the NRL.

“If we had two more people on the field, that would have been a send off,” he said.

“In that other code, it would have been sent off many weeks in a row. But forget that game, in our game, that’s not how it’s adjudicated. 

“I imagine they’ll say that it’s a send off, but I can give you much worse tackles than that that haven’t been sent from the field.”


Robinson said that he would have been fine with a sin bin, but that a send off was far beyond the current standard.

“On where the game is being adjudicated at the moment, 100%,” he said when asked if it was worthy of a binning.

“That’s where the game is being adjudicated. If you can let me know of guys who have been head-high, concussed, and not been sent from the field, which I can give you many, then what made that stand out? Why was that a send off in the current climate?”

It was the lack of consistency that riled Robinson, given that no player has been sent from the field in the NRL since Jacob Saifiti in Round 2 – save for Reece Walsh and Jarome Luai for fighting with each other in State of Origin – and there have been many tackles similar to Brown’s.

“When was the last send off?” questioned Robinson.

“We’ve had high tackles, shoulder charges, all of it. It was a high tackle that hit him in the neck, that had no effect on him (Trbojevic). He got up and elbowed pretty quickly after that which wasn’t sighted and went unpunished.


“You don’t want to see it, I don’t think it’s great for Ben, but there’s so much worse than that in the game – and that gets sent off? 

“If the goalposts have moved tonight then move them and send that off, but if we can’t mention when the last send off was…guys have been heavily concussed from high tackles and all of that – nothing happened there tonight and he gets sent from the field.”

Opposing coach Anthony Seibold refused to be drawn on the tackle.

“I thought it was foul play, so I was comfortable with the send off, but I hate commenting on other team’s players,” he said.

“It’ll go to the Match Review. I don’t think it was deliberate from Nathan but I understood why he got sent off.”

Both coaches, however, were unhappy at the performance of Klein, who doled out 34 infringements across the game.

Seibold thought that the bulk of them were as a result of deliberate tactics from the Roosters, but Robinson bristled at that idea and suggested that Klein


“It was incredibly stop start,” said the Roosters coach. 

“Was that any different to any other NRL game this year or was it refereed (differently)? I think Ash was really trying to make a point, but that didn’t stop for the whole game. It was a strange one.”