Tuilagi lucky to avoid spear tackle send-off, JWH binned after sneaky Parra ploy but Roosters get last laugh


Eels forward Kelma Tuilagi was lucky to avoid being sent off for a scary spear tackle on Lindsay Collins in the Roosters’ crucial 28-18 win on Saturday night at CommBank Stadium. 

Tuilagi flipped Collins in a one-on-one tackle in just the fourth minute of the match and should have been banished for the rest of the match. 

It was an extremely dangerous tackle and thankfully the Roosters prop landed on the top of his back rather than the point of his head as that could have had catastrophic consequences. 

Collins jumped straight back to his feet but that shouldn’t have been a factor in what should have been a straightforward send-off decision. 

“There’s a risk of injury,” explains referee Chris Butler as he tells Eels captain Clint Gutherson that Tuilagi that he’s getting 10 in the bin and both players look relieved that sterner action was not taken.

Fox League analyst Cooper Cronk predicted Tuilagi will cop a hefty ban: “He will be out of the side for a long time. That’s a dangerous tackle.”

The Roosters were a trifle unlucky later in the first half when Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was binned for a hit on a slipping Shaun Lane even though Butler referred to the contact as “moderate”. 

Parra employed gamesmanship by deliberately delaying play after the hit so that the Bunker officials could examine a replay and they eventually prompted Butler to bin the veteran Kiwi.

Should JWH have been sent to the sin bin for this tackle?

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Roosters close in on top-four spot

After a mostly hot but too often cold season, the Roosters are now 8-6 in fifth spot, just a win outside the top four. 

This game was the kind of contest that they have let slip a few times this year and when Eels got their noses in front (do they have noses?) in the second half, the Roosters could have turned up their toes (they have toes).

But they withstood all that Parra could throw at them and regained the lead with a rousing finish to the final 20 minutes of the contest.

They are at home against three teams below them on the ladder in the remaining games of Joseph Suaalii’s suspension in the Bulldogs (relocated to Gosford), Tigers and Dragons as they negotiate the Origin period before their second bye. 

Trent Robinson should be pleased by the fact that his fifth-placed side is just two points outside the top four despite not yet hitting their straps in 2024. 

Brandon Smith should be back from his club-imposed ban next week along with winger Dominic Young, who sat out the CommBank Stadium clash with a hamstring strain.

Terrell May is tackled. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Eels slipping away from top eight

Parramatta were hoping a change of coach a month ago and the return of Mitchell Moses could be the catalyst for a turnaround in their fortunes. 

They have since lost to Souths, registered a stirring win over the Sharks in Moses’ comeback game, surrendered a lead late to Canterbury and now gone down to the Roosters. 

The best they can be is seven points adrift of top eight by the end of Round 15 and they would probably need to win at least seven, if not eight or more, of their final 10 matches to sneak into the finals. 

They still seem to be too conservative in attack, a major flaw under previous coach Brad Arthur’s tenure, and their slightly better for and against record has them ahead of the Tigers and Titans on the bottom rung of the NRL ladder.

Tricolours too strong when push comes to shove

On the back of the early Tuilagi incident, the Roosters struck first on the scoreboard a minute later when Sam Walker swung the ball right through the quick hands of James Tedesco and Joseph Manu for Junior Pauga to touch down.

They went 10-0 up during Tuilagi’s 10 minutes off when Angus Crichton’s offload set up Michael Jennings out wide.

With prop Spencer Leniu splitting the Eels down the middle and Luke Keary coming up with a chargedown, the Roosters dominated field position and crossed again when Daniel Tupou completed a training drill sweep play.

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The JWH sin-binning in the 33rd minute enabled Parra to hit back for a 16-6 half-time deficit when Reagan Campbell-Gillard found space through the middle and then Moses backing up.

They maintained their momentum when Dylan Brown touched down straight after the break and even when it was back to 13 on 13, Parra’s roll on continued with Blaize Talagi touching down on the way to an 18-16 advantage. 

There seemed an inevitability about the Roosters regaining the ascendancy and the blue and gold resistance broke 15 minutes frm full-time when Crichton’s offloading again caused havoc out wide with Tupou registering his second four-pointer.

Crichton was the beneficiary in the closing stages when he won the race to a Walker grubber to complete his top-notch performance.

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