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Billy Slater says Karl Lawton tackle got worse with every watch, but four week suspension is harsh


NRL great Billy Slater says he was originally shocked that Karl Lawton had been sent off on Friday night, but that every replay he watched had made the decision more palatable.

Lawton was given his marching orders in the ninth minute after lifting Rabbitohs skipper Cameron Murray into a dangerous position.

“Initially I was surprised he got sent off, the more I watch the tackle, and probably what we really need to focus on, is that it was a dangerous tackle,” Slater said on Billy’s Breakdown.

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“We don’t want to see those tackles in our game, and if we do see those tackles on a regular occasion, we’re going to see someone seriously injured.”

The Manly forward was charged with a grade three dangerous throw by the match review committee, which will see him miss four matches with an early guilty plea or five games if he fights the charge and loses.

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“I really feel sorry for Karl – but he’ll do his time and move on from it,” Slater said.

“I think it’s probably at the top end, or a bit over the top end of what I was thinking,” Slater said in regards to the suspension.

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.

There were no arguments from Manly coach Des Hasler after the incident, who said that the only call referee Grant Atkins had to make was whether to march Lawton for ten minutes, or for the remainder of the contest.

“Would you send him or would you sin bin? I thought maybe a decision could have been disputed there but either way, he wasn’t going to stay on the field,” Hasler said.

Manly initially responded to going down a man by taking a 10-2 lead, but were run down in the second half and beaten, 40-22.

The Sea Eagles have lost their past two games against Cronulla and Souths, but have winnable contests against the Wests Tigers and Broncos in the next fortnight.

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