‘Play on’ after Oates NRL hit: Bronco Hunt

Brisbane hooker Ben Hunt says play should not have been stopped despite teammate Corey Oates’ sickening collision in their NRL elimination final, admitting he would be pretty dirty if he was a Penrith player.

Debate has raged since referee Gerard Sutton’s decision to stop play with Penrith try-bound. With the Broncos leading 6-0, friendly fire had floored Oates in the first half of Friday’s sudden-death final at Suncorp Stadium.

The Panthers had gathered the loose ball and looked certain to score after Oates had been knocked unconscious by his collision with teammate Anthony Milford. The winger had to be taken off on a medicab in the 21st minute.

Penrith had to wait until the 64th minute to score their sole try, going down 13-6 to the Broncos.

St George Illawarra great Mark Gasnier had led a chorus of disapproval over Sutton’s call – and Hunt agreed with him.

“It’s a tough one but I think, in that instance, it probably should have been play on,” he said.

“The play was a little way away from where he was.

“But if the play is in and around where the player was knocked out, you need to pull that up straight away because someone is in danger.”

Hunt admitted he could empathise with the Panthers over the call.

“I can see why they pulled it up. They wanted to help him (Oates),” Hunt said.

“But at the same time, I can see if I was Penrith, I would be pretty dirty about that.”

Oates was named to play in this Friday night’s preliminary final against Melbourne but was not expected to receive a final clearance until at least Thursday.

He has been on modified training this week.

“I have had a concussion, passed all the tests and been good to play the next week – I think that is where Corey is at the moment,” Brisbane back-rower Alex Glenn said.

“We are taking precautions and will wait until Thursday to see how he is but, so far, so good.

“He is going around with a smile on his face and he doesn’t have a headache so that is good.”

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