Horror tackle sees Manly’s Karl Lawton become only the SECOND player to be sent off in the NRL this season – but Phil Gould calls hit ‘soft’ and says ref has ruined the spectacle for fans
- Karl Lawton was sent off just nine minutes into the clash against Souths
- Sea Eagles hooker tackled Cam Murray and lifted him over his horizontal
- The Rabbitohs skipper hit the ground hard on his head after the tackle
- Lawton is only second player to be sent off in this NRL season
Manly were reduced to 12 men less than 10 minutes into their clash against South Sydney when Karl Lawton was sent off for a brutal tackle on Cameron Murray, a decision Phil Gould slammed as ‘soft’.
The Sea Eagles hooker tackled the Rabbitohs directly in front of the post and lifted him, with Murray finding himself almost parallel with Lawton’s man-bun before being tipped over his horizontal and dropped heavily to the turf.
Referee Grant Atkins was left with little choice but to send Lawton off, with Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans not even attempting to plead his teammate’s case.
Karl Lawton was sent off just nine minutes into Manly’s clash with South Sydney
‘It was just a bad one,’ Fox League pundit Michael Ennis said.
‘Technically it is fine but it is that last lifting motion.’
There was no hand between the legs to lift, sparking shock at the sending off from the likes of Gould in commentary.
‘It’s just a momentum tackle, that’s all,” Gould said on Nine.
The Sea Eagles hooker is only the second player to receive his marching orders this season
‘You have one man running real hard at the other man, he gets down low
‘To be sent off for that, when there is absolutely no injury to the other player, that’s extraordinary.
‘You want your prime-time TV show now to be 12 on 13? If that’s your product, I give up.’
New South Wales coach Brad Fittler and Queensland counterpart Billy Slater both also claimed the call was harsh.
Cameron Murray (centre) got up quickly and appeared unscathed from the tackle
Lawton is only the second player to be sent off in this NRL season, after Newcastle Knights forward Mitch Barnett received his marching orders in Round 3 for a brutal hit on Chris Smith.
Barnett inexplicably raised his forearm directly into the head of the Penrith second-rower, smashing him to the ground.
Canberra star Nick Cotric is the only other player to be marched for a dangerous throw, against St George Illawarra in 2019.
Lawton is also only the second Manly player to be sent for any offence in the past 10 years, with Addin Fonua-Blake the other after the siren for dissent in 2020.