NRL legend erupts after star’s ‘shocking’ move

Melbourne Storm forward Max King has come under fire after attempting a dangerous “hip drop” tackle during Sunday afternoon’s NRL match against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

In the 26th minute of the round 20 match at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Dragons prop Blake Lawrie ran into the Storm’s defensive line for a regulation tackle. He was grasped by Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith, but as referee Matt Cecchin called held, King grabbed onto Lawrie’s waist and awkwardly pulled him towards the turf.

With King’s weight resting heavily on the 23-year-old’s right leg, his entire body was then gruesomely bent backwards.

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Play was halted and a trainer ran onto the field after Lawrie slowly returned to his feet in considerable pain, and the Fox League commentators voiced their disgust.

Blake Lawrie off with leg injury, concern by video for syndesmosis/MCL injury (hopefully minor) with twist & contact in tackle. Once again variation of the hip drop tackle in practice, nasty technique. Has crept into the game & poses significant risk to knee/ankle of ball carrier

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“That’s a bad tackle over the back there,” Andrew Voss immediately said.

Penrith Panthers legend Greg Alexander replied: “That hurt, that hurt, leg twisted.

“He got that right leg stuck under.

“That’s the example of what we don’t want in the game. Drops onto the leg and pulls the player over. That’s shocking.

“That’s got intent. It’s got intent, and intent to injure.”

Blake Lawrie of the Dragons is attended to by trainers.Source:Getty Images

Lawrie was taken off the field and King was put on report for the incident, but Alexander believed the 23-year-old was lucky not to be sent off for 10 minutes.

“That incident in itself is worthy of 10 minutes in the bin. That’s foul play; that’s obvious foul play,” Alexander said.

“He will leave the field; that will be the end of Blake Lawrie.”

Voss elaborated: “If the authorities really believe this is a tackle that has crept into the game, well I hope they have learnt from experience where we allowed some wrestling techniques and only gave players a slap on the wrist.

“If you really want to stamp it out of the game, then put 2-4 weeks on it to rub it completely out.

“So let’s knock it out the game! Who wants young kids learning that tackle?”

Brisbane Broncos great Ben Ikin also condemned the tackle at halftime: “That’s just not what you want to see on a rugby league field, and not what the Storm needed heading into finals.”

My god that's a bad tackle….#NRLDragonsStorm

Gee that was grubby from Max King. We don’t want that nonsense in the game. #NRL

I didn’t like the Max King tackle at all. But let’s be careful of accusing players for trying to injure others. His intent was to slow the play the ball down – like all other hip drops – not intentionally hurt anyone. I agree it does deserve suspension #NRLDragonsStorm

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The Storm fielded an inexperience side on Sunday, resting their experienced stars ahead of next week’s finals match against the Parramatta Eels.

However, the decision backfired when the Dragons secured a 30-22 win, their seventh of the season.

St George fullback Matthew Dufty and second-rower Tyson Frizell — who was playing his final match for the club — each snared a double, with Zac Lomax also mustering a classy try during the victory.

Although Melbourne will remain in second spot on the NRL ladder, the Dragons will finish the season in 11th position, overtaking the Manly Sea Eagles.

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