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Australian pundits somehow think this brutal NRL hit wasn’t a red card


“An absolute overreaction.”

The NRL is a tough competition. There is no doubt about that. But even in a game which prides itself on its physicality, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

In Australia’s NRL, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks fell to a 38-10 defeat to the Newcastle Knights which has put a huge dent in their playoff aspirations.

Red cards are rare in rugby union, but even more so in league and Cronulla received one in this game which was the third sending off of the current NRL season.

Chad Townsend red card

Chad Townsend was the man to receive his marching orders for what was a pretty brutal shoulder charge on the Knights’ Kalyn Ponga.

Ponga quick tapped the ball looking to restart the play. However, the referee called a halt to proceedings as some of his teammates were offside. As Ponga stopped his carry with the ball in hand, Townsend proceeded to dish out a brutal shoulder charge on the 22-year-old.

The contact upended Ponga who laid spread out on the turf. Townsend was shown a red card by referee Ben Cummins.

“The whistle went, they tried to stop, Chad couldn’t stop his momentum,” said former NRL star and current pundit Paul Gallen.

“I said to Sterlo, probably ten in the bin. But I thought it was an absolute overreaction to send him off.”

Rugby league great Peter Sterling also agreed that it should not have been a red card.

“I think it counted against Chad Townsend that Kalyn actually relaxes as the whistle stops. So, he doesn’t come with the same force carrying the football.

“I think he will be in trouble for that. I just think it was an overreaction to send him off.”

The Sharks also have a nervous wait on the availability of Wade Graham and Toby Rudol. The duo were both cited for a spear tackle on Mason Lino.


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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter