The Manly Sea Eagles have confirmed fullback Reuben Garrick suffered a fractured back in a controversial tackle from Warriors star Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad that has divided the NRL.
Garrick went up to catch a field goal attempt that had been charged down when he was caught in the air by Nicoll-Klokstad, with the impact forcing him to land heavily and lose the ball in the process.
Tackling players in the air is an automatic penalty if the ball hasn’t bounced, but the rules state that it’s play on if the ball has already made contact with the ground.
Instead, the Warriors got the ball and scored a minute later when Marata Niukore made a break and ran around Garrick who was too sore to keep up.
It was a crucial call with scores locked at 22-all with the Sea Eagles set to have a penalty kick from in front with eight minutes to go that would have kept their finals hopes alive.
The Sea Eagles put out a statement on Tuesday confirming the injury to Garrick.
“Scans have confirmed Garrick suffered a fractured transverse process in his back after landing heavily in the second half,” the club statement said.
“Garrick remains in doubt for the Bulldogs game on Sunday and the last home game against the Wests Tigers on September 1.”
The Daily Telegraph reports the injury typically takes six weeks to heal. Garrick, however, is keen to play and is expected to be named in the Sea Eagles side for Round 26.
It is understood he cannot do any further damage.
The tackle left Manly coach Anthony Seibold fuming but Head of football Graham Annesley said on Monday he didn’t think the tackle was dangerous enough to warrant a penalty. This was despite another NRL official reportedly telling the Sea Eagles that they thought the contact warranted further action.
“It’s a subjective decision. He lands on his back. There are players who are tackled and land on their back in a whole range of situations, or land awkwardly,” Annesley said.
“Injury alone is not a determination of whether the rules have been breached or not.
“(Players) can get injured in legitimate tackles, so you have to look at this particular situation and look at the circumstances. Was there any lack of care taken by Nicoll-Klokstad? I don’t think there was.”