Angus Crichton sin bin, Australia vs Samoa final, Chanel Harris-Tavita tackle, highlights, video, news

Samoan coach Matt Parish has branded referee Ashley Klein’s decision to send Kangaroos backrower Angus Crichton to the sin bin as “weak”.

The 26-year-old raised his elbow while bracing for a tackle from Samoa’s dummy-half Chanel Harris-Tavita in the 46th minute, who was knocked out by the contact.

The ugly blow saw Fox League’s commentators tipping Crichton to be sent off, but Klein instead raised 10 fingers and gave the backrower his marching orders.

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“This could be the end of Crichton’s night Vossy,” the commentator said.

“It’s a dead ball situation and the elbow is raised, it looks worse the more you slow it down, but for all intents and purposes there is head contact when the ball is dead,” Fox League’s Andrew Voss said.

“This is a big moment.”

“I think Crichton might be lucky to stay on the field, whatever card this may be,” the commentator said.

Parish’s side went down 30-10 and were valiant against Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos, but the Samoan coach was clearly angry they weren’t playing against 12 players for almost a full half.

“Five minutes into the second half our hooker gets elbowed in the head and gets carted off, then the referee makes a weak decision and puts him in the bin, dumbfounded,” Parish said.

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“An elbow to the head and the hooker gets knocked out and taken out of the game.”

Australian coach Mal Meninga though disagreed, telling reporters: “My view is that he should have stayed on the field, that’s just silly”.

The Samoan squad was down to bare bones after a number of injuries forced players to sit out of the tournament.

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Parish revealed he only had a squad of 19 players to pick from coming into the World Cup final.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Tyrone May, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Josh Aloiai, Izack Tago and Fa’amanu Brown all sat out of the clash, while Spencer Leniu played but was in doubt in the days prior to the game.

Hooker Danny Levi also returned home due to personal reasons.

“Down to 19 players, that’s all we had in the squad, blokes playing out of position, blokes playing full halves and it was so courageous,” Parish said.

Samoan skipper Junior Paulo went in to bat for Crichton, who he has played with before in the NSW Blues set-up under Brad Fittler.

“Knowing Angus Crichton and playing with him before, it’s probably not in his game so it is what it is,” Paulo said.

Meanwhile, Harris-Tavita dropped a bombshell on the rugby league world earlier this year by announcing he’d be taking an indefinite break from the game following the World Cup.

The 23-year-old slotted into hooker after Samoa’s injury crisis and was desperate for a dream way to exit the game for the time being.

Unfortunately he left the field after suffering the ugly head knock and was unable to return.

“This is the bad luck that has cursed Samoa through the tournament,” Voss said.

“Harris-Tavita, this could be his last moment in rugby league what we have just witnessed there.”

Speaking post-match Crichton also revealed he will be traveling with Harris-Tavitain the weeks following the World Cup.

“I didn’t know he was coming and there was no malice at all, sending out my blessings to his family,” Crichton said.

“It is all love between me and Chanel, I spoke to him after the game and I apologised, whenever I play football I don’t try to injury anyone.

“I never want to see anyone get injured on a football field, we love rugby league because of the nature of the sport, we don’t go out there trying to hurt people.

“I just want everyone to know it was just a genuine reaction, I never go out on the field to try and hurt someone.

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“He’s a great player and I am actually meant to be traveling with him after this so there’s no bad blood between me and Chanel.

“He’s great friends with Nathan Cleary, who I am also great mates with… I am genuinely sorry for that, it was not my intention at all.”

Harris-Tavita revealed he came to the decision to walk away from the game after getting injured during a heavy loss to the Storm in Round 7 of the 2022 season.

“For the past couple of years I just haven’t felt that love for the game, I’ve woken up on many training days and asked myself – is this really what I want to do,” Harris-Tavita said.

“It was hard for me to make this decision because you can get a lot of money in this game and you have a short career, so that was one of the toughest parts.

“But after I’d ruptured my testicle, I spent a bit of time by myself contemplating my next move and (whether to) sign my next contract, and the decision I made was the best for me moving forward.”

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