Jackson Hastings’ season-ending ankle injury could be a factor in Patrick Carrigan’s penalty for a hip-drop tackle, after the Brisbane prop was referred straight to the NRL judiciary.
Carrigan faces a lengthy ban for the tackle late in the Wests Tigers’ upset win over the Broncos, after the prop fell on Hastings’ lower leg after in a three-man tackle.
Carrigan avoided the sin bin on Saturday night but on Sunday was referred straight to the judiciary, meaning any ban length rests in the discretion of the panel.
Under the NRL judiciary process, Carrigan’s contact is considered worse than a grade-three, meaning he can expect at least three matches with an early guilty plea.
However the judiciary code also dictates panel members have the power to consider Hastings’ injury in the ban, potentially resulting in a longer suspension.
That topic has already emerged as an issue of contention, with Brisbane legend Gorden Tallis criticising the system on Sunday.
“The injury should never come into it,” Tallis said on Triple M.
“Calling it live and watching the replays, I thought he would have been unlucky to get a week or two.
“I think it was an accident.”
Carrigan is in career-best form and any long-term suspension could jeopardise the Broncos’ hopes of securing a top-four finish and a double chance in the finals series.
With the loss to the Tigers, Brisbane slipped to fifth but are on the same number of competition points as the sides directly above and below them on the ladder.
Penrith co-captain Nathan Cleary accepted an early guilty plea for his dangerous tackle on Parramatta’s Dylan Brown and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Cleary’s send-off doomed the Panthers to their second loss of the season on Friday night and the following day he was offered a five-match ban.
The Panthers will now be without both their first-choice playmakers for at least a month, with five-eighth Jarome Luai racing the clock to be back from an MCL injury before the end of the regular season.
Elsewhere, South Sydney look set to be without Tom Burgess for next week’s match against the Warriors after he was hit with a grade-two careless high-tackle charge.
Burgess also became the first South Sydney player to be sent off since Jaiman Lowe in 2007 after the tackle on Cronulla’s Ronaldo Mulitalo.
Burgess can accept a one-match ban with an early guilty plea but risks missing two games by taking his case to the judiciary.
Canberra prop Joseph Tapine has escaped suspension for allegedly striking Gold Coast’s Aaron Booth but has been charged with contrary conduct for his role in sparking a scuffle between the sides on Saturday.