FIGHTTIME

SINCE 2015 SCOT T FIR ST NRL SEND - OFF FARCE NRL PROBE INTO STOPWATCH FOUR PL AYER S SIN- BINNED

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - MELISSA WOODS

A FUMING Mel­bourne Storm have al­ready con­tacted the NRL over two Manly play­ers al­legedly re­turn­ing al­most two min­utes early from the sin bin.

The Storm were seething af­ter Manly five-eighth Dy­lan Walker and team­mate Api Koroisau, who were sin­binned for their role in a sec­ond-half brawl, re­turned be­fore 10 min­utes had lapsed.

Mel­bourne’s Cur­tis Scott was sent off for throw­ing a flurry of punches at Walker in last night’s fiery 24-4 loss to Manly at AAMI Park.

Fox League reported that the Manly play­ers had re­turned to the field 1min 41 sec­onds too early.

Storm chief ex­ec­u­tive Dave Don­aghy re­port­edly had phoned NRL boss Todd Green­berg and head of foot­ball Brian Cana­van be­fore the end of play about the stuff-up.

It’s the duty of the NRLap­pointed time­keeper to man­age the 10 min­utes the play­ers are off the field.

While both coaches said they weren’t clear on what hap­pened, Storm gen­eral man­ager of foot­ball Frank Ponissi con­firmed the er­ror. But Ponissi said that given the 24-4 score­line, it was un­likely they would take it any fur­ther.

“It was ob­vi­ously an er­ror and he made a mis­take but I per­son­ally don’t want to dwell on it,” Ponissi said. “He made a mis­take and, hope­fully, it doesn’t hap­pen again.”

The NRL re­leased a state­ment last night say­ing that they will “con­duct a full re­view of the tim­ing of the dis­missals and the process”.

With­out the cool head of cap­tain Cameron Smith, who was sus­pended for a dan­ger­ous tackle last week against the Ti­tans, the Storm strug­gled for com­po­sure with the Sea Ea­gles at their nig­gling best.

As well as Scott be­ing Asofa-Solomona was put on re­port for a dan­ger­ous tackle.

There were shades of the in­fa­mous 2011 Bat­tle of Brook­vale, when brawl­ing teams spilled over the side­lines, as the game erupted 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Scott was sent off for throw­ing a flurry of punches that left Manly five-eighth Walker with a sus­pected frac­tured eye socket.

At that stage Manly led 6-4 with the first try of the match scored just three min­utes ear- lier by Matthew Wright. It was a stun­ning ef­fort as the winger chased down a kick deep into a cor­ner of the in-goal by Daly Cherry-Evans which caught the Storm’s Cameron Mun­ster off- guard as it looked for all money like it was headed out.

The Storm weren’t able to cap­i­talise on their numer­i­cal ad­van­tage, with the Sea Ea­gles in­stead adding an­other try in the other cor­ner with Akuila Uate burn­ing the de­fence along the nar­row­est of side­line cor­ri­dors.

Mel­bourne’s at­tack con­tin­ued to look con­fused with­out Smith call­ing the shots and Manly made the most of it with full­back Tom Tr­bo­je­vic and cen­tre Moses Suli also cross­ing.

Sea Ea­gles coach Trent Barrett said it was the first time many of his play­ers had won in Mel­bourne.

“The last three weeks I’ve been re­ally happy with — we’ve beat the Roost­ers and got the points against Bris­bane and tonight, I was re­ally proud of them,” he said.

Sea Ea­gle Moses Suli smashes through the Storm’s de­fence to score and (in­sets) Cur­tis Scott lands a straight right on Dy­lan Walker and leaves him with a shiner. Pic­ture: Getty

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