A frustrated Shane Flanagan has questioned whether the send off is dead in the wake of Melbourne winger Marika Koroibete’s ugly trip on Chad Townsend on Monday night.
The Fijian international is likely to come under the scrutiny of the NRL match review committee after the controversial incident in the Storm’s fiery 14-6 win over the Storm at Shark Park.
In the 60th minute, Sharks halfback Townsend darted out of dummy half looking to take advantage of a quick play-the-ball, but was tripped over by Koroibete who stuck out his right leg.
A push-and-shove ensued and the incident was put on report, with the ensuing James Maloney penalty goal proving the icing on the cake for what was a tough win against the previously unbeaten Storm.
Sharks coach Flanagan questioned why Koroibete had not been sent off after watching one of his players cop heavy treatment from foul play for the second week in a row.
The week before, centre Jack Bird was collected high and without the ball by Manly enforcer Martin Taupau, who also remained on the field, but was subsequently banned for a week, a punishment that was roundly criticised as too lenient.
Flanagan argued a trip was a send off offence and wondered why the Storm weren’t reduced to 12 men for the rest of the game.
“It wasn’t that bad, but it was a trip,” Flanagan said.
“I don’t know what you’ve got to do now (to be sent off).
“Obviously, there was the one last week when Birdy got knocked out and another one this week. There’re not that many people getting sent off these days, they’re being put on report.
“A trip’s a trip.”
Earlier in the game, Melbourne centre Will Chambers was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for a professional foul on Valentine Holmes after attempting to slow the play-the-ball after a Sharks break.
The game became heated at times, with Sharks prop Andrew Fifita on several occasions nearly coming to blows with Storm players, including Cooper Cronk.
The send off has become a rare occurrence in recent years, leading some to question whether referees have become too gun shy.
In round 22 last year, then Canberra prop David Shillington became the first player to be sent off in two seasons when he headbutted Wests Tigers forward Aaron Woods.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy did not comment on the Koroibete incident, saying he had not reviewed it.
“I only saw it quickly, I didn’t get a look at the replay. That’s out of our hands, (the MRC) will have a look at that,” he said.