Morley marched as Bulldogs beat Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Morley marched as Bulldogs beat Roosters

By Steve Jancetic 22/07/2006 09:42:17 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs enforcer Willie Mason pleaded with the NRL judiciary not to crucify Sydney Roosters prop Adrian Morley after the English firebrand was sent off following a sickening kneeing incident in Saturday night's 25-0 loss to the Dogs at Telstra Stadium.

Morley was given his marching orders in the 68th minute by rookie referee Jarred Maxwell after what can only be described as a brain snap by the Great Britain Test forward when he kneed Corey Hughes in the abdomen, an action which could bring an end to his NRL career.

With the Bulldogs hooker attempting to play the ball a metre out from the Roosters line Morley inexplicably rushed out and raised his knee into Hughes' stomach, Maxwell sending him for an early shower after a consultation with his touch judge.

The last player to be sent off for kneeing was Cronulla utility Greg Bird against South Sydney in 2004, Bird copping ten weeks for his indiscretion.

A poor record could see Morley cop an even heftier ban which could end his NRL career, with the 29-year-old set to return to the Super League next year to take up a three-year deal with Warrington.

But Mason, who was standing at dummy half when the incident occurred, said Morley didn't deserve to have his NRL career end on such a sour note.

"I don't think they should crucify him and end his career just for that one incident because he deserves better than that," Mason said.

"It's a brain explosion and he regrets it.

"Hopefully they can take some leniency on him because I think he deserves better."

Morley has a chequered history at the NRL judiciary with ten prior convictions since joining the league in 2001, Roosters coach Ricky Stuart unable to defend the giant prop other than to put it down to an act of frustration over the side's dismal form.

The loss brought to an end the Roosters' faint top eight hopes in a performance Stuart labelled as embarrassing before admitting it was time to start putting plans in place for 2007.

Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes will have his sights set on a more immediate prize with his side justifying its premiership favouritism tag with a competent display.

"As the score showed we were pretty much in control the whole game. We weren't at our best but we were consistently solid," Folkes said.

"There's talk that we're favourites, I think Melbourne should be favourites, they're six points clear on the ladder, they're clearly the best team to date.

"Favouritism is one thing, actually getting the job done is another."

The home side was never forced to get out of second gear with Hazem El Masri taking advantage of a 9-5 penalty count over the opening 40 minutes to boot three penalty goals which, along with Andrew Emelio's 11th minute try, gave the Dogs a 10-0 halftime lead.

Sonny Bill Williams, who started on the bench after Folkes shuffled his line-up when prop Mark O'Meley (sternum) withdrew, confirmed the two competition points five minutes after the break with a powerful try in which he carried two defenders over the line before skipper Andrew Ryan scored a late four-pointer.

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