Outrage as NRL exile hospitalises star
FORMER Canberra star Blake Austin - now plying his trade in the English Super League with Warrington - has escaped sanction for a tackle on Hull KR captain Joel Tomkins that left the veteran forward with severe concussion.
Tomkins was taken to hospital after being on the receiving end of a hefty challenge from Austin while lying on the ground during the first half of Warrington's 28-14 victory, with Rovers coach Tim Sheens describing his captain as being "in a bad way".
Austin was sent to the sin-bin. The Rugby Football League's match review panel later ruled that contact was accidental and that the yellow card was sufficient punishment.
"Joel had to go to hospital in an ambulance and he's a sick boy and in a bad way and we are concerned for him," Sheens said.
"I think the player concerned may have a little worry this week but it doesn't help us for the fact in the 10 minutes he was off we scored a try.
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"It's a tough one for referees because he doesn't know he's hit him that hard he has put him in hospital, and it doesn't matter if you are lying on the ground or running through, if you get hit flush on the head you are going to have a problem.
"I'm not whingeing about it though, it's difficult for referees but losing my captain and influential player in the squad for most of the game was a concern."
Meanwhile, former Manly player Jackson Hastings is becoming a man at Salford - but he admits he will only know if he has truly grown up when the chips are down.
The scrum-half was a bad boy back home, facing the scrapheap after getting in trouble once too often at the Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles.
But the Red Devils came calling and life has turned on its head, to the point where he snubbed a move to Wigan because of the loyalty he has for that second chance.
He believes he is a different person than the hothead who arrived here but admitted he will only know for sure if flak comes his way.
"My confidence has got me in trouble in the past a few times but now I know I'm improving as a person. I know right from wrong now, it took me 23 years but I finally got there," he said.
"But I may not truly know until I get put in a really hard circumstance where I've been before, then I'll know if I've really learned my lessons.
"Salford has had more of an effect on me than I've had on it. I would never have pictured being in this position, especially with the baggage I had coming over. I was a 22-year-old kid who was called a nightmare and got a chance to come over here."