South’s wrecking ball Tevita Tatola has made a massive shift to take his side to the Prelims for a fifth straight season – and was rewarded by escaping a ban on a ‘chicken wing’ tackle judgment that legend Gorden Tallis says is ‘moving on “ was.
Tatola led the Sharks 24-12 into the last quarter of the match and bent ball carrier Ronaldo Mulitalo’s arm in a three-point tackle, resulting in a grim chicken wing-like offense.
The 25-year-old was reported while flyer Mulitalo was on the ground in pain – thought the NRL has since announced Tatola will get away with a $1800 fine if he pleads guilty early.
Referee Grant Atkins told Tatola it was “dangerous for the arm” while the Fox League panel debated the fate of the props after the game.
“Well you can see he bends that arm back and it’s that second try I think he’s in trouble,” said 2016 Premier League winner Michael Ennis.
“While he’s trying to turn the player onto his back, he can’t use his arm to do it.”
“Ennis very salty after beating Sharkies… boo hoo… wants Tatola suspended… #NRLSharksSouth’s Tatola hasn’t moved on,” one fan tweeted.
Meanwhile, Queensland tough man Gorden Tallis believed Mulitalo’s grimace was entirely theatrical.
“I reckon it’s a second-class carry-on from the winger here,” said the angry bull.
“I guess it’s preschool, he lets it go there and looks at the carry-on.
Put yourself in this position. If you make that tackle, or if it happens to you, do you want the player who tackled you to miss the game?
The 114 kg defender played 57 minutes for 173 running meters and made 22 tackles.
The chicken wing tackle has been cracked down on in recent years to punish players for attacking the defenseless arm of ball runners.
In 2019, Souths utility Liam Knight was charged with dangerous second-rate contact for an arm pin tackle on Dragons captain James Graham.
Knight denied the charges and was suspended for two NRL games.
However, the Match Review Committee only classified Tatola’s tackle as a first-rate offense, leaving the Bunnies defenseman free to play for red and green in his crucial prelim final against the Panthers next Saturday.