John Asiata and Nene MacDonald on the Townsville turf in pain. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
John Asiata and Nene MacDonald on the Townsville turf in pain. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

NRL to investigate broken ankle bungle

THE NRL will investigate the Nene Macdonald saga after Cowboys coach Paul Green launched a savage attack on match officials for failing to halt play for the injured winger in Friday night's clash against the Storm.

NRL referees Grant Atkins and Gavin Badger allowed play to continue for more than 30 seconds despite the Cowboys claiming they followed official protocol to stop proceedings after Macdonald suffered a sickening leg injury in the 75th minute.

Macdonald will undergo surgery later today on a fractured dislocation of his ankle and faces three to six months on the sidelines.

Straight after the Cowboys' 18-12 loss, Green unloaded on the NRL, labelling the match officials' failure to stop play "an absolute debacle" and a "disgrace", and called for the governing body to act.

The NRL will seek a "please explain" from the match officials today, with the demotion of Atkins and Badger an option in the wake of the Macdonald affair.

"The laws of the game allow for play to continue while players are out of play and treated for minor injuries, but it has always been the case that when referees become aware of a possible serious injury, the game should stop," NRL football operations chief Graham Annesley said.

"Last night there was ample opportunity for that to happen, but it didn't.

"We will review the video and audio of the incident and consider all the relevant circumstances to hopefully prevent it from happening again."

A furious Green lashed the match officials, who included touch judges Nick Beashel and Belinda Sharpe, for failing to stop play immediately.

Macdonald is taken from the field as he sucks on the magic green stick. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Macdonald is taken from the field as he sucks on the magic green stick. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"That was an absolute debacle," he said.

"We had a trainer out there.

"It was explained to our captain on field that the process is that the trainer has to go to the touchie.

"Our blue shirt (trainer) was standing next to the touch judge asking them to stop the game.

"We had our doctor on the field.

"We had our yellow shirt (trainer) with the pocket ref and he got sent away.

"It's a disgrace. We have a guy with a fractured dislocation of his ankle, clearly distressed, our doctor is on the field, and we get sent away.

"They play on ... they stopped the game twice for a blood nose for christ's sake when Melbourne had a blood nose.

"Our player's welfare and safety was put at risk."

News Corp Australia


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