NRL head of football Graham Annesley concedes Manly’s Sean Keppie warranted a sin bin and being referred to the judiciary for his high hit that left South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds concussed despite the match review committee failing to charge the tackle.
Reynolds missed most of the second half after he failed an HIA having been collected high by Keppie in the first set of six after the break in Saturday’s Rabbitohs win over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
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The high hit, and no penalty, prompted a furious Souths coach Wayne Bennett to lash out at the NRL over protecting the game’s playmakers.
“He (Adam) had to be taken from the field because he wobbled,” Bennett fired.
“Under the current rules he was not allowed back on the field. But for the player involved (Keppie) there is no action.
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“This is the contradiction, and this is where the game has to improve itself.
“The game continually talks to us about these concussion issues. But the bottom line is they have to police them consistently.”
Annesley reviewed the Keppie tackle in his weekly briefing, determining that the offence warranted action from the game’s officials.
“The tackle isn’t late, and it is hard for the defender to pull out, but his upper arm makes direct contact with the head,” Annesley said.
“To me the real question is: was the initial contact high? In my view, this incident escaped action and it should not have.
“There was no penalty from this incident, no bunker intervention and no match review action.
“I understand people have to make a judgement, but in my role as head of football I have to apply my own judgment.
“There should have been a penalty, a sin bin and a charge.”
Despite the heavy hit, Reynolds is expected to take on arch rivals the Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
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