The NRL’s oldest grudge match has once again exploded, with two players marched from the field, as the Roosters got their revenge over South Sydney for the infamous ‘Sin bin Sunday’.
Joseph Manu produced one of the greatest try-saving tackles you’ll ever see but finished Friday night in the sin bin as a wild brawl broke out in the dying minutes that brought back memories of last year’s feisty finals match.
The Roosters had the last laugh with a crucial 20-18 win over their fiercest rivals, but Manu faces an anxious wait after he was placed on report and sent to the sin bin for a high shot on Rabbitohs centre Isaiah Tass when play was already dead for a forward pass.
“He was trying to make the tackle on Tass that he made the play before (when he saved a try),” Robinson said.
“He got it wrong. I think that’s enough, and then running in and then everything that went on after that is what it is.”
Manu got him flush across the jaw, prompting furious Rabbitohs players to rush in as tempers boiled over, leaving Manu with swelling and a bruise under his left eye two years after he copped a shocking high shot that ended his season.
Robinson is hopeful that it was not a repeat of the facial fracture he suffered in the pre-season and that Manu’s face only blew up because of a cut as a result of a Michael Chee Kam punch in the middle of the melee.
“I let my emotions get the better of me,” Souths skipper Cam Murray said.
“I was just sticking up for my teammate.
“I won’t go and start something, but I will stick up for myself and my teammates, and I felt like it was valid there. That’s why I did what I did.”
Chee Kam was also sent to the sin bin for throwing a punch in a manic final few minutes that saw Izaac Thompson crash over to make it 20-18 with 60 seconds to go.
Latrell Mitchell had the chance to send the game into golden point but his audacious field goal attempt out of dummy-half landed short to leave Souths with one win after three rounds.Manu got him flush across the jaw, prompting furious Rabbitohs players to rush in as tempers boiled over, leaving Manu with swelling and a bruise under his left eye two years after he copped a shocking high shot that ended his season.
SOUTHS STAR PUTS NEW CONCUSSION RULES TO THE TEST
South Sydney forward Hame Sele will be the first player automatically stood down under the NRL’s new concussion policy after being knocked out in the opening minute of Friday’s nailbiting loss to the Sydney Roosters.
Making his first appearance of the season, Sele got caught in an awkward position trying to tackle Victor Radley and was in trouble immediately with players from both sides showing concern.
Sele laid motionless on the turf for a few minutes before eventually being helped from the field and was eventually ruled to have suffered a category-one concussion.
It means he’ll miss next week’s heavyweight clash with Manly under the NRL’s hastily-introduced rule which states any player showing category-one symptoms must be rested for 11 days.
“As far as I know he’s okay. Hame gets his feet wrong, dips too early and takes one on the head,” Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou said.
“But he’s fine. Spoke to him at halftime, he’s okay but we’ll go through the protocols. He’ll miss next week and then see how he pulls up after that.”
He may not be the only player forced to sit next week, with Parramatta forward Jack Murchie also failing a head injury assessment in Thursday’s loss to the Sea Eagles.
Compounding Sele’s absence is a foot injury for teammate Shaquai Mitchell, who limped from the field midway through the second half and left the ground on crutches.
It will be a real test of the Rabbitohs’ forward stocks, having entered the game already without Jacob Host (calf), Jai Arrow (hamstring), Siliva Havili (knee) and Liam Knight (knee).
Host will be available next week, while Arrow is a slight chance.
The Rabbitohs had only just regained the services of starting prop Tevita Tatola, who missed their last-start loss to Penrith due to own concussion.
“(We’re) patching up middles at the moment. We get two back, we lose two, so it is what it is,” Demetriou said.
Their injury concerns added salt into the wound of a second straight defeat for Demetriou, whose side crumbled in the second half against the Roosters before mounting a dramatic comeback that fell short.
South Sydney have a testing couple of months ahead, including two clashes against Melbourne, a return bout with the Panthers, as well as games against the Dolphins and Brisbane.
Originally published as NRL 2023: Roosters win 20-18 over Rabbitohs, Hame Sele suffers concussion blow