Warriors wrecking ball Konrad Hurrell has escaped sanction for an incident in which he appeared to knee Manly prop Jake Trbojevic in the head at the NRL Auckland Nines on Saturday.
Hurrell was not charged for the incident in the sides’ controversial second pool match at Eden Park on Saturday and has instead been issued a “concerning act” notice by the Match Review Committee.
The Sea Eagles were left with a troubling injury toll with Trbojevic (concussion) and Jamie Buhrer (suspected broken jaw) set to take no further part in the tournament.
The young Manly prop was taken from the ground in a medicab after Hurrell appeared to lift his knee while running the ball.
Trbojevic, standing in as Manly captain during the tournament, lay motionless on the turf for several minutes as he was attended to by medical staff.
In positive signs, he returned to the bench in the second half and was walking around the dressing room and talking.
Last year Hurrell was suspended for three weeks after breaking the jaw of Cronulla back-rower Anthony Tupou in a similar incident.
Despite last year being ordered to change his running style and having been issued two “concerning act” notices for similar offences in the previous 18 months, the NRL decided not to charge him.
Asked about the incident, Manly coach Trent Barrett said: “I didn’t really have a look at it, I couldn’t comment, no one means to knock someone out.”
Buhrer, just back from a long layoff with a torn ACL, is facing another big stint on the sidelines after suffering a suspected broken jaw.
Buhrer left the field early in the Sea Eagles’ second pool match on Saturday afternoon after copping a swinging arm from Warrior Albert Vete.
Sea Eagles back-rower Nathan Green also suffered a concussion in a head clash while making a tackle in the second half of the same match but has been cleared of a concussion.
It leaves the Sea Eagles dangerously undermanned with just 15 fit players after Jorge Taufua was ruled out with a hamstring problem and the NRL blocked their attempt to replace him with Dylan Kelly.
Barrett said he was puzzled by the NRL’s decision to stop second-rower Kelly from coming into their squad.
Manly have been one of the early pacesetters with victories over Brisbane and the Warriors, but could run out of fresh men on day two.
Asked if he had enough players, a flippant Barrett said: “Not really. Do you want to play?
Elsewhere, South Sydney winger Alex Johnston suffered a shoulder injury in his side’s tournament-opening win over the Roosters and did not take part in the side’s second match of the day.
Rabbitohs doctors said the injury was minor and he had just stretched a muscle.
Tigers veteran Chris Lawrence suffered a hip problem but described it as “not serious”.
Parramatta flyer John Folau left the field with a right hamstring injury in the side’s 14-11 win over the Roosters.
St George Illawarra winger Yaw Kiti Glymin also suffered a hamstring strain against the Sharks.