Last night’s Super League semi-final fixture between Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors had two major flashpoints rolled into one.
After Leeds had worked their way into a lead following a defensive-focused first-half, John Bateman made an attempted tackle that set the Rhinos firmly on the course to victory.
The Rhinos’ talismanic halfback Aidan Sezer had just kicked the ball when Bateman hit the playmaker around the head in a hefty collision.
Bateman knew he had made a mistake almost instantaneously when he cradled Sezer’s head and neck as the latter appeared to have been knocked out cold.
The Wigan man was red carded whilst Sezer was also lost for the rest of the game after failing his head injury assessment.
For Leeds legend Danny McGuire, he had no qualms about the sending off.
“He has made contact with Sezer’s head – whether it’s with his bicep or shoulder,” McGuire said.
“We all saw how John conducted himself after he revealed he had made a poor decision. We get a split second to make the decision and sometimes you make the wrong ones and John has come off on the wrong side there.”
That head injury, however, could now mean that the Leeds halfback will miss the Grand Final next week regardless of whether or not he is fine during the week in a departure from the current rules in Australia.
Upon hearing about the different rules down under, McGuire hinted that there should be more leeway with situations like this and indeed that of Brodie Croft at Salford: “You would be so disheartened, he looks like he is ok.
“That’s maybe what we need to look at as concussions and head injuries are important and we are all for player safety but we are robbing a player an opportunity to play on the biggest stage.”