Roosters centre Joseph Manu and Rabbitohs second rower Michael Chee Kam will sleep nervously on Friday night after both players were sin-binned after a wild fracas marred the closing minutes of their Allianz Stadium blockbuster.
With only minutes left on the clock, the Rabbitohs made a break down the left side and looked set to score until a wide pass to Alex Johnston was ruled forward.
But as the call was made, Johnston got a ball away to Isaiah Tass, who was then crunched from behind and across the face by Manu, triggering a swarming of Rabbitohs players from all directions.
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“Joey Manu normally looks like a mild-mannered sort of fellow but you could see, I think, he’s going to get in trouble with the tackle,” Andrew Johns said in commentary for Nine.
As the dust settled and referee Gerard Sutton regained control, Manu and Michael Chee Kam – who ran from virtually the opposite side of the stadium to be involved – were sent to the sin bin.
“Michael comes in unnecessarily and flares things up. He’s in the bin … he doesn’t need to do what he does.”
Latrell Mitchell then used the resulting penalty kick to reduce the deficit to a converted try with under two minutes left.
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He was made to pay further when in the set following the restart, the Rabbitohs marched 70m up-field to score in the corner through Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson.
Mitchell made the conversion to reduce the deficit to two points but was well wide of the mark with a Hail Mary two-point field goal attempt after the siren.
The Roosters won the clash 20-18.
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