In the words of the great Michael Maguire WTF!
Last nights win feels like a loss.
The morning after putting 50 on the Roosters is usually a cause for celebration because a Rabbitohs win plus a Chooks loss always equals a great weekend. Especially when both those results happen in the same match.
Today however feels more like a wake because Latrell Mitchell has been charged with a grade two reckless high tackle charge. The base penalty is 500 points however with loading from four previous non-similar offences in the last two years, Mitchell will be suspended for six matches (675 points) with an early guilty plea, or he could miss nine matches (900 points) if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.
Friday night football was humming along nicely for the Bunnies, they were scoring great tries & defending like demons until Joey Manu made a break on the right side of the field & collided with the Taree Ferrari.
No one wants to see a player seriously injured like that & I hope Joey is ok. As much as I love to hate the Roosters I do admire Manu as a player, he’s a champion footballer & I wish he played for us & not them.
This Latrell incident will be examined forensically for the rest of the season but for what it’s worth I don’t believe Latrell intended to harm his former teammate Joey like he did.
Rugby league is a collision sport & unfortunately serious injuries like this happen. Personally I prefer a fullback that puts his body on the line like his life depends on it to save a try rather that just making a half hearted attempt to halt the oppositions advances.
I asked my Rabbitoh Radio co host Grant ‘Chaps’ Chappell for his thoughts & he said he agrees with Gus Gould & Joey Johns opinions that there was no intent.
“I’ve looked at it frame by frame & Joeys head drops about a foot & the contact was a result of that. There were mitigating circumstances so if it can’t be proven Latrell had intent the Rabbitohs might get him back this year.”
“If it goes the other way then Latrell Mitchells’ season will be over”.
Forever the optimist Chaps continued…
“I still believe we can beat Penrith in week 1 of the finals. Blake Taaffe is ready to fill the void & may even cover the ground & field the bombs better that Latrell could.”
We interviewed Blake Taaffe on Rabbitohs Radio & he told us that he grew up playing fullback. This is his preferred position & during his brief appearances in the top grade this year we did see evidence that he can handle the role & even excel.
The bottom line is that Latrell Mitchells’ shoulder came into heavy contact with Joey Manus’ face, sending him to hospital with a shattered cheek & ending his season.
Due to the fact Latrell has already found himself suspended this year even if an appeal is successful I doubt the judiciary will decide any form of penalty that will save Latrells’ season.
I also spoke to my other co host Darren Brown & his thoughts were..
“1st and foremost I don’t agree with the incident that occurred on Manu and I feel for him and understand his frustrations.
Latrell definitely plays the game with aggression and on the edge, something you want from your players and teammates.
When you play like that plus the speed of the game there is no room for error and on occasions you will find yourself in strife with the officials and the judiciary.
Last night’s incident was a perfect example, a tackle that went wrong in many ways.
I’m all for the new rules and penalties regarding contact to the head and the NRL have certainly come along way from the day’s when that tackle wouldn’t have even warranted a penalty.
In my opinion I don’t think Latrell went into the game to intentionally hurt Manu, however the rule states if you come into contact with the head of a player whether it be intentional or not you will be penalised and Latrell will definitely pay the price for the incident.
I’m sure Latrell isn’t happy with the actions that happened however he’ll be back bigger and better.
He isn’t the 1st player to miss big games due to suspension and he certainly won’t be the last.
I’ll be looking forward to when Latrell Mitchell dons the red and green again.”
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will march on into the finals. Once that happens anything can happen perhaps even premiership number 22!
By Steve Mavin
In other news Liam Knight & Dane Gagai also been charged.
Knight has been charged with a grade three dangerous contact – other charge which has a base penalty of 300 points. However, loading from one previous non-similar offence in the last two years will see Knight being suspended for two matches (270 points) with an early guilty plea, or he could miss three matches (360 points) if he opts to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.
Gagai has been charged with a grade one contrary conduct charge. The base penalty for this type of charge is a $1500 fine however with loading from two previous non-similar offences in the last two years, Gagai will be fined $1600 with an early guilty plea, or he will be fined $2100 if he chooses to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses.