It is undeniable that the meeting between Wigan Warriors and Hull KR in the Challenge Cup semi-final yesterday at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium was dominated by the red card to Joe Shorrocks.
This moment pivoted the game in the favour of the Robins in the eyes of many.
It came at the start of the second half as Shorrocks caught Mikey Lewis in the chin resulting in a red card for “direct contact to the head.”
However, there was another incident similar to this moment when Bevan French and Abbas Miksi got in a tangle and another Hull KR player was hit in the head.
Speaking on BBC Sport, Kevin Brown suggested it should have been a red: “I actually thought the Miski tackle was worse with the force that he hit and that was clear contact to the head.
“I know he was falling but it still hurts when you’re falling let me tell you, so I think that one was worse.
“I thought Mikey Lewis was falling and he went but for me the Miski tackle was as bad and I just think the referee thought I don’t want to send him off here.”
He did admit it was a difficult decision: “It’s so difficult, all I’d say is that one there, I think, in terms of damage to your opponent, whether he meant it or not, I think there’s probably more risk. Never mind his head, his knees and everything.
“There’s always factors that change the way you tackle, the way you go in, but ultimately if you run that risk and you throw your shoulder in when someone’s spinning you’re not 100% sure and you do hit them in the head then there should be a consequence.”
That being said, the BBC coverage picked up what Liam Moore said on the referee mic.
He said: “He’s falling, it’s contact to the head, it’s a penalty.”
Does this show it should have been a red card given that contact was made with the head?
Perhaps the decision to say he’s falling is the mitigating factor but when that was the case in the Hull derby, Shaun Kenny-Dowall was yellow carded.
This was an interesting talking point that clouded a great game.
The game has been a pulsating affair in the wet. The Robins could have been forgiven for feeling hard done by when Ryan Hall pulled out of the side late before kick-off but they stood up to early pressure before a delightful scrum move saw Louis Senior slide in at the corner.
Hall’s injury saw Mikey Lewis moved to fullback and Ethan Ryan moved to the wing. Lewis showed his worth with amazing footwork to confuse the Wigan chasers when they looked to trap him in goal.
Hull KR had the better of the first half but they were behind when Jai Field was given enough space to weave through and score in the corner.
Up against it at this point in the game, Shaun Kenny-Dowall turned the game when he intercepted but sadly he couldn’t go the distance but the Robins were now building pressure.
After absorbing a spell of pressure themselves, Wigan went down field and nailed a penalty to make it 8-4.
As aforementioned, the Warriors have now added to their lead after a second penalty from Harry Smith, his third goal of the game to give them a 10-4 lead which was cancelled out by an Ethan Ryan try.
A deserved win for Hull KR and a special performance from the Robins in a brilliant semi-final, there is no getting away from the red card as the game’s big moment in the contest.