Tahu on report after blow-up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tahu on report after blow-up

By David Beniuk 21/06/2010 09:59:42 PM Comments (0)

Timana Tahu's return to Newcastle in the wake of the Andrew Johns racism row lasted eight fiery minutes before the Parramatta centre was put on report then sin-binned for consecutive high tackles against his former NRL club on Monday night

Tahu's return to the NSW side for State of Origin III is now likely to depend on whether he's suspended after his blatant swinging arm on Knights winger James McManus.

The incident overshadowed a sideline conversion from Newcastle and NSW captain Kurt Gidley to seal a last gasp 6-4 win for the Knights.

Tahu's first on-field assignment since his walkout from the Blues Origin camp was just seven minutes old when he was reported for the McManus tackle.

It provoked a scuffle with former Newcastle team-mate Adam MacDougall and Gidley, a good friend of Johns' who'd been left stunned by Tahu's exit 10 days ago.

In the very next tackle, Tahu launched himself with a high shoulder charge on Knights prop Ben Cross, who moments before had appeared to lean a knee into the head of Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne.

The tackle on Cross caused the game to blow up again with Tahu throwing a punch at Isaac De Gois before the dual international was marched for 10 minutes, but not before MacDougall appeared to have consoled him.

The bad blood with Gidley could have boded ill enough for Tahu's return to the Blues for Origin III next month, but suspension will now almost certainly rule him out.

After a 0-0 halftime scoreline, the first try of the match came, fittingly, from a mistake when Eels makeshift centre Justin Horo capitalised on Akuila Uate spilling a high ball after 60 minutes.

But a 78th minute try from Junior Sa'u after Eels replacement Tom Humble had fumbled a grubber gave Gidley his chance to have the last laugh.

Fireworks were always on the cards with Tahu running out beneath EnergyAustralia Stadium's Andrew Johns Stand as the Knights legend was commenting on the action for the Austereo radio network.

Johns and Tahu won a grand final together for Newcastle in 2001 - against the Eels no less - but the former Blues centre took offence to the champion halfback describing Queensland's Greg Inglis as a "black c***" at NSW's north coast pre-Origin II camp.

Further allegations of racism at the Knights during Tahu's time there have since surfaced from former players.

A pre-match brass band known as The Marching Koalas had done their best to defuse tensions - their repertoire included Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music White Boy and Michael Jackson's anti-racism anthem Black or White.

The Knights' win snapped a three-match losing streak but also came with backrower Cory Paterson being placed on report for a high shot.

"He was deserving of the referee's attention for the incidents," Eels coach Daniel Anderson said of Tahu.

"He got fired up ... from the tap restart the blood was boiling.

"He was over zealous, no doubt, and we paid the penalty as a team."

But Anderson said he was optimistic Tahu would avoid a suspension.

Gidley suggested Tahu had picked the wrong targets in the current group of Knights players.

"He had to blow off some steam but none of our team were involved in anything that happened a week and a half ago and I don't think it was probably warranted for our blokes," Gidley said.

MacDougall, who marked Tahu, was ready for his old team-mate to be fired up but was still surprised.

"It was uncharacteristic, what he did tonight, as a person and a player but he's obviously very frustrated at the moment and it's just a shame that it boiled over onto the field," he said.

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