Hasler calls for review after Keppie knock

Coach Des Hasler has called for closer examination of game stoppages after Manly’s Sean Keppie was allowed to wobble on the field for almost a minute after a head knock in the NRL preliminary final loss.

© Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS Manly’s Sean Keppie, on the ball in the preliminary final, played on while wobbling after a hit.

The Sea Eagles prop went in for a tackle on South Sydney’s Mark Nicholls in Friday’s match but caught a hip to the head in just the sixth minute, ruling him out of the rest of the game at Suncorp Stadium.

Referee Ashley Klein was in view of the hit, but didn’t blow the whistle to call time off to the disbelief of Hasler.

Keppie was then visibly stumbling and groggy for the next two tackles until the game stopped to examine a potential try.

It follows a week of furore in which a Penrith trainer was suspended for stopping last week’s semi-final in the dying minutes to attend to Mitch Kenny’s ankle injury.

Klein came under pressure for calling time off as the trainer ran onto the field last week, allowing Penrith to reset their defensive line with the Eels on the attack.

And while Friday night’s call to play on around Keppie didn’t impact the result, Hasler said the NRL needs to find a happy medium.

Asked if last week’s incident had spooked officials, Hasler said: “They were on a hiding to nothing really, weren’t they?

“Last week, it probably cost a side a semi-final spot, or that’s what Parramatta were saying.

“It’s got to be looked at during the off-season. 

“I understand both sides of the argument. There’s a fine line.

“They have to look at play not being disrupted and being advantageous to the attacking side, but also there’s a duty of care to players.”

Hasler suggested having the orange shirt trainer in contact with a doctor on the sideline to get immediate attention to players, rather than having to wait for an on-field assessment to stop a game.

“Because if you leave a player lying there and play on, who knows what that player is suffering at that time? It’s a fine line,” he said.

“I dare say if he would have stopped play there would have been the same gripe. It’s something they probably need to look at.”

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