Crusher comeback earns Bellamy's ire - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crusher comeback earns Bellamy's ire

By Guy Hand 26/07/2009 03:07:07 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy hinted controversial prop Jeff Lima was being targeted by referees after the "crusher" tackle re-entered the NRL spotlight this weekend.

Lima was put on report during the Storm's 30-10 win over Cronulla at Olympic Park on Saturday night for a suspect tackle on Sharks centre Matt Wright.

Wright was left prone on the ground for several minutes after the tackle by Lima and Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith.

Wright got up and walked off the field under his own steam, but did not play any further part in the match.

The Sharks later said he was suffering from either a neck or back injury and would undergo further tests.

Referees Ben Cummins and Brett Suttor told Lima the incident would be referred to the match review panel as a possible "crusher" tackle.

The "crusher" is an outlawed practice in which excess downward pressure is applied to the neck of the player being tackled.

Lima was involved in one of the early controversies involving the tackle two seasons ago.

An irate Bellamy labelled the decision to place Lima on report on Saturday night "a joke" and suggested his prop was in the referees' crosshairs.

"I could show you hundreds of those... it's one of those things which happened in the game, it's an accident," Bellamy said.

"Because it's Jeff, that's where it all started - this crusher crap."

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart also believed Lima's tackle on Wright was an accident.

"I hope he gets off because it was one of those incidents that happened very quickly, and he didn't mean to do that," Stuart said.

"It was just part of the game where collision was involved, and he (Wright) was caught awkwardly."

The alleged Lima crusher tackle was one of a number of eyebrow-raising refereeing decisions on Saturday night.

Bellamy was also annoyed at Shark Luke Covell's early second half try which featured a ball spilt forward, followed by a Trent Barrett forward pass.

Bellamy suggested neither referee heeded the advice of the touch judge, whom he believed saw and called the forward pass.

Instead, the matter was referred to the video referee, who awarded a try giving benefit of the doubt.

"I didn't think they did a great job tonight to be honest," Bellamy said of the referees.

"As they're going over the tryline, you can see the touch judge go up with them, then go back. When they go back, they've got a problem with the try, which was a forward pass.

"If we're going to have two referees and they're just going to go to the video ref, we should just let the ball-boys put up the flag when it goes into touch, and don't worry about the touch judges.

"I couldn't believe they wouldn't take any notice of him tonight."

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