The biggest rivals in the NRL faced off on Friday night and both teams left the game with more than they bargained for.
The Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs played each other for the last time in the 2021 season at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, with the Rabbits’ 54-12 win overshadowed by moments that had every NRL supporter talking.
The game kicked off with Alex Johnston scoring a try just five minutes in. The 26-year old managed another two tries in the match leaving him the top try scorer in the league.
The Papua New Guinea and Torres strait Islander man has scored 27 goals in 19 matches.
Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell has accepted a six-week ban after a high shot on Joey Manu in the second half, sending the Roosters centre to hospital with facial injuries.
Manu had to have plates inserted in his face after sustaining a broken cheekbone from the hit. He took to his socials after surgery to ensure everyone he is recovering fine.
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) August 29, 2021
Despite Mitchell scoring two tries on the night, the focus has been on the fullback’s heated play during the night, with some backing his playing style and others questioning it.
The heat of the night has spread well after the game with Latrell Mitchell’s uncle — Maurice Goolagong, reporting that Mitchell’s partner has received death threats since the incident.
“He’s an aggressive player and that’s the way he plays,” Goolagong said on Triple M Central Coast.
“When he does something right everyone praises him, then there’s one little incident and they’re all jumping on him.
“After this incident here, even his partner has been getting death threats.”
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) August 27, 2021
Manu’s family have also spoken up, asking people to stop the online attacks towards the 24-year-old.
“We actually feel sorry for Latrell,” said Manu’s father, Nooroa.
“He’s copping a lot of abuse and we don’t want that happening. We want to make sure he’s going to be all right too.
“He’s very talented and we know his family, they are really good people. That’s just how we feel and it’s up to Joey how he feels.
“It was just unfortunate [what happened on Friday night]. Joey is ready to move forward and we’re happy as a family. I think the main thing is we move on.”
The NRL has also slapped the Roosters with a $40,000 fine and a breach notice after coach Trent Robinson’s comments involving the decision not to send Latrell Mitchell off after the hit.
The game continued to fire up after the Mitchell-Manu incident. When Mitchell returned from the sin bin he scored a try, got up and threw the ball towards the head of a Roosters player on the ground, sparking another debacle.
Not too long later it was Dane Gagai’s turn in the bin and he responded to the referee’s decision by asking, “Are you f***ing kidding me?”, before walking off the field in anger.
Dane Gagai has been charged for his swearing outburst 🤬
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) August 28, 2021
The 30-year-old is facing a $1,600 fine for his outburst and if he decides to fight it, he will cop a $2,100 fine if unsuccessful.
It’s Gagai’s last season with Souths after confirming his return to the Knights next season on a three-year deal.
By Teisha Cloos