The NRL was left shocked when match referee Henry Perenara reported Parramatta player Junior Paulo for what seemed to be a conventional tackle on Broncos star David Fifita.
Unfortunately, Fifita sustained an ankle injury from the incident after being twisted in the contest.
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As Fifita made his way to the sideline, Perenara placed Paulo on report, with Eels players and experts questioning the decision.
“Where’s he meant to go? He’s just holding him,” Eels captain Clint Gutherson said.
Perenara stuck with his decision, stating Fifita’s health as a priority.
“I understand that, but at the end of the day we have a duty of care, and that’s what we’re going with”.
The NRL are trying to crack down on “hip drop” tackles, but many questioned whether Paulo deserved to go into the referee’ book.
“There’s nothing in that is there? It shouldn’t have even been a penalty, from that penalty there we defended three sets on our line,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
“No, that’s not a penalty, what’s he supposed to do? That’s not the description of the hip drop tackle, no way.”
Channel Nine commentator Andrew Johns was also quick to judge the call.
“What? What’s the… it was an accident,” Johns said.
“In the act of making a tackle, unfortunately for David Fifita he gets caught up under Junior Paulo and he’s on report for that?”
Fox League analysts Andrew Voss and Michael Ennis also joined the discussion.
“This was the tackle here. Paulo comes in. That’s unfortunate, they’re just trying to bring David to the ground there’s not much they can do differently.” Michael Ennis said.
“I don’t know what else he could there, Junior Paulo. I really don’t know.”
Voss said, “I see moments like that and I say to myself how do referees in the bush do it. If the edict is you have to rule on tackles such as that, how do they pick that up, whatever we were looking for there”.
Paulo will be sweating on the NRL judiciary’s decision, with many believing he’ll be lining up for the Eels in next weekends clash against Wests Tigers.