NRL round three: GOLD COAST 16 MANLY 14 at Skilled Park

By STEVE MASCORD

AFTER being carried off in his 250th game on a medicab after friend Richie Fa’aoso’s shoulder charge knocked him out, Gold Coast lock Ashley Harrison last night said: “He got me from a place where couldn’t see it coming.”

Manly replacement Fa’aoso admitted he forgot about the new ban on shoulder charges when he hit Harrison after passing the ball five minutes before halftime in the Titans’ 16-14 win at Skilled Park.

As he was being placed on report, the Tongan international attempted to apologise to his former Norths Aspley clubmate – but Harrison was unconscious. He approached the Queensland forward again after the match.

Fa’aoso, who could be the first player charged under the shoulder charge ban but is more likely to face a dangerous contact allegation because of a head clash, said: “It’s a contact sport but you don’t mean to hurt people like that.

“We might have clashed heads or something but I’m glad he’s alright. I’m sorry that he went off like that, especially in his 250th game. I felt pretty terrible.

“To be honest, you just forget about it (shoulder charge ban) sometimes. I’ve just got to wrap my arms around

“I don’t know if it was a bit late, I haven’t really seen it. I’ll have a look at it and hopefully I’ll be alright next week. If I’m not, I’ll just work hard and get back whenever I get back.

“He’s a good bloke, as long as he’s alright. I was very sorry for what happened.”

Harrison did not want to comment on what should happen to Fa’aoso and said he had no recollection of the incident.

But he did say: “I just know he got me from a place where I couldn’t see it coming

“The judicial committee, they’ll make their minds up.  Richie came up to me after the game, I’ve known him since I was a kid and he apologised.

“He said ‘sorry’, I said ‘no hard feelings’

“It’s rugby league, mate. These things happen. I got in the wrong place at the wrong time .”

Manly coach Geoff Toovey said the collision should not result in any more than the penalty which gave Aiden Sezer the first points of the match. “There’s not much in it, I think they clashed heads at the end of the day,” he said. “They got a penalty, hopefully that’s where it will stay.

“I’ve seen it on replay. There’s no problem with it at all … apart from that it’s a shoulder charge and they’re illegal now.”

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright and captain Greg Bird were also measured in their comments. “It was hard on us to lose a player for the game – we were down to three interchange players from an illegal shot,” said Cartwright.

“Maybe it’s something they need to look at there – an 18th player.

“He’s had 250 games. He’s been knocked out before. He’ll be right.”

The game was decided in dramatic fashion when Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans attempted a line dropout at 14-14 with four minutes left and Titans winger David Mead put a foot into touch and caught it, giving Sezer and easy penalty goal from in front.

“He’s pretty devastated with that but it’s a learning curve for everyone,” said Toovey.

Gold Coast led 14-4 at the 57 minute – then Manly roared back with three consecutive tries. But captain Jamie Lyon managed just one conversion.

The Titans lost another player, centre Brad Takairangi, to a hamstring injury in the second half.

GOLD COAST 16 (R James D Mead tries A Sezer 4 goals) bt MANLY 14 (J Taufua 2 T Symonds tries J Lyon goal) at Skilled Park. Referees: M Cecchin/L Phillips. Crowd: 13,168.

Filed for: SUN-HERALD

Final team lists:
TITANS: William Zillman; Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, David Mead; Aiden Sezer, Albert Kelly; Ashley Harrison, Ben Ridge, Greg Bird, Nate Myles, Matt Srama, Luke Douglas. Res: David Taylor, Luke Bailey, Ryan James, Beau Falloon.
MANLY: Brett Stewart; Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams; Kieran Foran, Daly Cheery-Evans; Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Anthony Watmough, Brent Kite, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence. Res: Richie Fa’aoso, Joe Galuvao, David Gower, Tom Symonds.

Holden Cup: Manly 26-18

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