It was the incident that raised the ire of the rugby league community and left men around the country wincing in pain.
And now South Sydney admit they got lucky after enforcer Nathan Brown was let off for a warning for his apparent crotch stomp on Gold Coast’s Agnatius Paasi.
The Rabbitohs enforcer escaped charge for an ugly incident in which his foot came down on Paasi’s groin in the Titans’ golden point 29-28 win in Perth on Sunday.
In explaining why Brown was not charged, NRL match review committee head Michael Buettner raised eyebrows when he said the fact that Brown had made contact with Paasi’s private parts had lessened the seriousness of the incident.
The NRL’s decision not to charge him was widely panned and Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire on Wednesday admitted they had dodged a bullet, allowing him to take on Wests Tigers on Saturday.
“It was an incident that I thought might have had a little bit more attention to it,” Maguire said.
“We were fortunate. The (NRL), they spoke to us around the incident and I spoke to Brownie and he’s aware. He’s made a blue at that moment in time and he’s definitely not that kind of player so he’ll get it right out of his game.”
When asked about the MRC’s explanation that Brown’s fault was mitigated because he had connected with Paasi’s groin, Maguire could only chuckle and said: “I’m just glad we’re moving onto Friday with Brownie in the team.”
Brown’s forgettable outing against the Titans was topped off when he was penalised for a blocking play as Adam Reynolds slotted what appeared to be the match-winning field goal.
The one-pointer was overturned by the bunker and the Titans ran up the other end to win it through young playmaker Ash Taylor.
“I really felt for him,” Maguire said.
“The energy and effort Brownie puts into every game, it’s excellent.
“We were fortunate there with him getting off on that incident. It’s one of those things that he’ll grow from and he’ll learn.
“Through that golden point stage, a couple of sets prior he actually got taken out a little earlier on one of Taylor’s kicks but it missed. But we’ve learned some pretty hard lessons there.”