The NRL has cracked down on foul play this weekend which has been controversial, but no one had any issue after a star was stretchered off.
The Melbourne Storm’s Ryan Papenhuyzen has been stretchered off the field after he was knocked out in sickening scenes early in the clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Papenhuyzen was part of the backline movement that led to Josh Addo-Carr scoring the first try but centre Tyrell Fuimaono came out of the line, hitting the Storm fullback high after he passed the ball.
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After a weekend of controversy over the NRL’s high shot crackdown, the case was open and shut with referee Peter Gough given no choice but to send the player off.
It left the Dragons a man down for 68 minutes of the game, and down to 11 men for eight minutes early after Josh McGuire was sin binned for a high shot.
Papenhuyzen was left on the turf for some time with the trainers taking all the precautions and calling for the stretcher.
In good news, as he had just returned from a shoulder injury, Papenhuyzen was up and speaking but had been ruled out of the match with a heavy concussion.
“From everything we’ve seen this weekend, it’s sin bin minimum,” Andrew Voss said.
“Oh no,” Greg Alexander interjected. “I’m sure it’ll be a send off, for a player to be down like that, that comes into account, an injury always comes into account when the referees are making up their minds. We’ve just seen Josh McGuire go to the bin for something not nearly as bad as that, he’s hit him flush on the chin.”
Voss said it was “a bleak moment for Magic Round”.
Alexander said it wouldn’t have normally been a send off but would likely have gone to the bin.
Gough quickly sent Fuimaono off for the hit, making it the first time since Round 12 2008 that two players have been sent off in different games on the same weekend.
The last Dragons player sent off was Matt Prior in 2012.
Fans were quick to slam the ugly scenes.