NRL 2022: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Wayde Egan, broken teeth, Match Review Panel, Luke Patten, why Melbourne Storm prop cleared for ‘power tackle’
The involvement of teammate Felise Kaufusi and the fact that Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s right hand was under Wayde Egan’s left arm helped convince the Match Review Committee not to load the Storm prop for a tackle which left the Warriors hooker with knocked out teeth.
MRC director Luke Patten revealed the committee had considered whether Asofa-Solomona could be charged with crushing, headbutting or dangerous contact and cleared him of all three offences.
While some believe the Melbourne prop should have been sent to court to determine if he had done something illegal after Egan walked off the pitch fearing he had broken his jaw, Patten said the MRC believed there was insufficient evidence to charge him.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley admitted the MRC’s view that Asofa-Solomona’s forearm had made ‘minimal contact’ with Egan’s chin would come under fire, but Patten said said the committee had analyzed the tackle in detail before making their decision.
“First of all, we identified that there was an additional player, Kaufusi, contributing to the tackle strength, so [it was] two big men on one smaller man,” Patten said in a pre-recorded video shown at Annesley’s weekly press conference.
“We identified that Nelson creates space, so there was no crusher or force applied to Egan’s neck here.
“There were a few other things we had to clear in that tackle, first there was the head snap. We see that there is a clear separation of Nelson’s right arm when player Egan is knocked to the ground.
“Nelson has a good grip with his left arm but there’s a clear separation, whereas with a head snap you’d see that arm isolate the head and really slam it into the ground. We allowed that because his arm separates from Egan.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona indicted
Patten said the MRC also considered a dangerous contact charge, but believed it was simply a “forceful tackle” and Egan’s head hit the ground.
Asofa-Solomona was helped by the fact that his right arm was placed across Egan’s chest, as he had his hand under the Warriors hooker’s left arm.
“As I mentioned before, Nelson has a hold with his left arm and there’s a separation,” Patten said.
“On one of the angles you can see that Nelson has a hold under Egan’s left arm under his arm and we believe Nelson’s right arm was diagonal to that hold, so diagonally across his chest .
“There could be a possible minor contact at the end of the tackle with Nelson’s forearm, perhaps with the neck or chin, but it was only minor contact.
“It was a hard tackle that unfortunately drove Egan’s head into the ground, but those were all the things we considered when deciding that this incident was in fact the NFA. [no further action] for us.”
Egan underwent dental work to repair two cracked teeth on Monday, but Annesley said the injury was only considered after a player committed an infringement.
The severity of the injury would be used to help determine the charge’s clearance.
Graham Annesley’s Weekly Football Briefing – Round 20
“There are a series of factors that the MRC takes into account,” Annesley said.
“They do a very forensic analysis and they take the time to come to a decision and they look at things in detail because you’re talking about a very serious incident when a player is charged.
“It either has a financial impact on a player or it means a player misses games, so those are important issues to determine and they need to look at them in detail.”