South Sydney Rabbitohs will probably get away with only a hefty fine for fielding 14 men during the match against the Broncos.
Reports say that the NRL will likely decide not to deduct points from South Sydney even though they had an extra man on the field for 15 seconds. However, the league, which is currently investigating the incident, said it wasn’t happy with what happened.
The Rabbitohs won the game 32-6, inspired by a Campbell Graham hat-trick and Latrell Mitchell’s two tries and 16 points. The route was a title warning that other teams will find hard to ignore.
No One Stopped the 14th Player from Entering the Field
The incident happened in the 53rd minute when South Sydney made a double change.
Junior Tatola was replaced by Jai Arrow, while Tom Burgess was called to leave to make space for Davvy Moale. However, Burgess stayed on the field for an extra 15 seconds, while Moale and Arrow both entered the game.
In the past, game officials would often stop players from coming in if the teammate they were replacing was still on it.
This time, though, there were no officials close to Arrow and Moale to stop them from taking the field.
Arrow said he wasn’t aware of what had happened, adding that he handed in his interchange card and was told he could enter the field.
Not Good Enough, Says NRL Chief Abdo
The NRL said it would look at the incident on Monday morning and decide the fine the Rabbitohs will have to pay for the blunder. No deduction of points is expected.
Andrew Abdo, the NRL chief, was far from happy, though.
He said that things like that shouldn’t happen and the people involved weren’t good enough.
Abdo called for additional controls to make sure something similar didn’t happen again and, of course, said someone would have to take the blame for the mistake.
Canterbury did something similar in 2009 against Penrith.
At one point in the game, Canterbury had 14 players on the field and scored a try. They were deducted two points.
In 2004, Brisbane’s Corey Parker was said to have ignored calls from the official not to enter the match, and the club was deducted points too.