AS MANLY co-captain Jason King was placed on report for a high tackle in last night’s fiery finals clash, Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis told referee Ben Cummins: ”We knew they were going to come with that.”
The likely suspension of King and his Sea Eagles teammate Steve Matai and injuries to co-captain Jamie Lyon and interchange forward Joe Galuvao overshadowed an intense opening to the NRL finals series between the minor premier and last year’s premier.
After losing 16-10, Manly is set to be without all four for next weekend’s sudden-death match against the winner of tonight’s North Queensland-Brisbane clash in Townsville.
The Sea Eagles were forced to play most of last night’s match without Lyon after he limped from the field with a calf injury, while King and Matai are almost certain to be charged by the match review committee over back-to-back incidents.
King was placed on report in the 19th minute for a tackle on Aiden Tolman, and from the ensuing penalty Matai hit Canterbury winger Sam Perrett with a high shot that threatens to end his season.
With 46 carry-over points and a 70 per cent loading from two previous charges, a grade one careless high tackle charge would rub Matai out for two matches. Anything more serious would rule him out of the grand final if Manly makes it.
The high shots came at a time when tempers on both sides were beginning to fray after a brutal start to the match.
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