Manly coach Trent Barrett has conceded the Sea Eagles could lose brilliant fullback Tom Trbojevic for the season and has pleaded for common sense around the type of tackle that saw him carried in pain from Suncorp Stadium.
The 20-year-old Blues Origin hope will have scans upon his return to Sydney on Sunday after landing heavily in his left leg in the 64th minute of the 24-14 defeat to the Broncos. He was dragged down by David Mead but the challenge was legal because the ball had already bounced.
It was initially thought to be a serious knee injury but was later revealed to involve both his knee and ankle, with Barrett saying the latter was the more pressing concern after initial exams from medical staff.
His departure was a turning point in the match, with Brisbane scoring through Corey Oates while Trbojevic was down being treated, while Kodi Nikorima crossed just two minutes later.
It was a curious incident in terms of the rulebook. Trbojevic was fielding a ball that had already bounced high into the air, leaping to take the catch before plummeting back to the turf where his leg gave way.
If he had been taking the bomb on the full, Mead would have been penalised for any contact. But with the ball already back in play having bounced, Trbojevic found himself a sitting duck for Brisbane defenders.
Barrett said the game needed to hand more discretion back to on-field officials and believed the tackle was clearly dangerous.
“That’s a funny one. He’s tackled in the air but it’s bounced. What’s the difference? I don’t write the rule book but he’s pretty badly hurt, Turbo. If it was on the full, that doesn’t happen, or it’s a penalty and that’s no try and we probably win,” Barrett said.
“It’s dangerous. He could be gone for the year, I don’t know. Not only has it cost us the game, it’s cost us one of our best players. A bit of common sense I suppose.
“It’s going to rarely happen. But the game isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of gray areas in it. That one, if it was disallowed, I don’t think too many people would complain to be honest.”
Barrett maintained Manly were the better team and didn’t deserve to get back on the plane without any points to show for their efforts.
“We didn’t deserve to lose that.”
Trbojevic’s night will also be remembered for his involvement in what might be the most-blatant forward pass in living memory. He sliced through Brisbane’s defence in the ninth minute and spotted Jorge Taufua in space on the left wing.
He flung a long pass that was delivered two metres before the 20m line and landed three metres the other side. Brisbane players roared in defiance as Taufua raced away to score. The crowd was stunned when the arm was raised and whistle blown.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck. After the match, the NRL reviewed the pass and confirmed it was indeed thrown forward out of the hands of Trbojevic. The reaction of players, from both teams, immediately after the try was enough of a giveaway.Continue Reading →