Broncos forward Patrick Carrigan has been suspended for four games after being found guilty of making dangerous contact during an ugly hip tackle that fractured Jackson Hastings’ right fibula and damaged his syndesmosis in the game Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Carrigan was taken straight to court for the tackle which saw Hastings wiped out for the rest of the season.
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Hastings writhed in pain after being held back by Broncos pair Cory Peace and Keenan Palasia, before Carrigan pressed his weight into the tackle around the hips and landed on his opponent’s right foot.
After the game, interim Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley called the tackle “horrible”.
In a dramatic evening in court, the NRL barrister asked for a five-to-six game ban for making an example of Carrigan while defense barrister Nick Ghabar pushed for two weeks.
The Dallas Johnson and Henry Perenara panel reached a unanimous decision that Carrigan’s actions had put Hastings in a vulnerable decision and that the penalty would have a chilling effect on other players.
“I’m very grateful to Nick and the NRL for a fair hearing,” Carrigan said.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the result.
“I certainly had no intent or malice in what happened, but I’m also aware that Jackson is going to miss some football. I wish him the best for his recovery.
“My goal is to support the Broncos as much as possible over the next four weeks.”
State of Origin Medal winner Wally Lewis traveled to Sydney but did not testify at the hearing.
Instead, five angles from Carrigan’s tackle and a similar tackle from Dragons forward Josh McGuire against the Storm in Round 10 last year were mostly used during the affair.
McGuire was hit with a tier three charge under the game’s old judicial code and was banned for five matches, although he had deferral points which added to his sentence.
The tackle on Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr did not result in a serious injury, although the winger was forced off the pitch for seven minutes.
NRL legal counsel Patrick Knowles referred to a memo sent by NRL Chief of Football Graham Annesley to the 16 clubs on July 21, 2020, in which he warned players of the hip tackle who had started to creep into the game.
Knowles said Carrigan’s tackle had all the same “characteristics” and involved dropping weight from the hips and trapping and twisting Hastings’ legs, which created an obvious risk of injury.
Knowles asked the court panel to suspend Carrigan for five to six games, pointing to the fact that Hastings needed surgery to insert a plate and screws and would therefore miss three to five months of football.
Although he did not want “an eye for an eye” retribution, he argued that Carrigan’s high level of force and negligence should be dealt with severely.
Ghabar said his client only deserved a two-week ban given he showed contrition, did everything in his power to limit the risk of injury on Saturday night and was only charged twice in his 62-game career.
He pointed to a medical report from a third-party doctor who said the injury was exacerbated by the other tacklers pushing from the top, which twisted Hastings into a dangerous position and added weight to the tackle.
Ghabar said it was very different from McGuire landing directly on Addo-Carr’s foot and arguing the Dragons striker was reckless and his actions bordered on intentional.
He went further, saying there were “mitigating factors” from the other two tacklers who twisted Hastings into a dangerous position while Carrigan “arched his back” to relieve pressure on the foot.
Carrigan will be free to return in Round 25 when the Broncos face the Dragons.
Originally published as Broncos forward Patrick Carrigan suspended for four weeks after nasty hip tackle