Goulburn Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle has condemned a tackle which left star fullback Tyler Cornish with a shattered jaw.
Early in the Bulldogs' 56-12 rout of the Yass Magpies on Sunday afternoon, Cornish was hit in the mouth by opposition centre William Peace's shoulder. He left the field immediately and was soon transported to Canberra for surgery.
Following the match, Kyle excoriated Peace's tackling technique, and confirmed that he would follow the issue up with Canberra Region Rugby League.
"We actually identified the player that did it [Peace] during the week and he'd actually severely injured one of the Woden players the week before ... and again he's come and delivered the same today," Kyle said.
"For me, it's ridiculous that he isn't banned for a long time. It's a disgrace if I'm honest, and he should be suspended for a long time.
"He's got no control of his tackle at all and he's hit one of our players fair in the jaw."
While Kyle was unequivocal in his belief that Peace should be suspended, Yass Magpies coach Cam Hardy came to his man's defence.
"If you know Willie, that's how Willie defends when he comes out of the line like that," Hardy said.
"Absolutely no malice in it whatsoever, I think the contact just went wrong. He's just not that type of guy, I think it'll be [fine]."
Cornish's was one of three serious injuries for the Bulldogs in what was a damaging afternoon on the field.
Shortly after Cornish left the field, Goulburn centre Dillon Rota was hit with a crusher tackle which saw play stopped for nearly 20 minutes while medics assessed his injury and an ambulance was called.
Bulldogs staff said that Rota was feeling pain in his spine and tingling in his extremities shortly after the incident occurred, however Kyle confirmed that he was up and walking by the match's end.
Shortly after half time, Liam Oakley was caught in an awkward position and came off the field with a dislocated shoulder.
While Oakley's shoulder was reset, Kyle said that there would need to be further tests to see if the dislocation caused any damage to the tissue surrounding the joint.
Kyle expects Cornish to be out for two to three months, while he is waiting to see the severity of the damage to Rota and Oakley before he clears them to return.
The injuries were an unfortunate distraction in what was an otherwise excellent performance by the Bulldogs.
With a 6-0 lead early in the match, the Bulldogs returned from their time off the field as Rota was taken to hospital with fire in their eyes.
This was particularly true for Tyler's brothers, Nick and Mitch, who were both shaken by their sibling's injury.
"I was at the other side of the field [when Tyler got injured], but I ran over straight away and saw his mouth full of blood," Nick said.
"He said to Mitchell that it was definitely broken, and I just got really angry, but I couldn't do anything.
"My legs went to jelly and I felt sick straight away."
Nick, the youngest of the Cornish brothers, said his first instinct was physical retribution, but a discussion with Mitch during the break in play calmed him down.
"Not long after Dillon got injured and we had to stop play, I said to Mitchell, 'I don't really know what to do'," Nick said.
"I felt like flying out of the line to try and hurt someone.
"But I know it's the wrong thing to do and I'm not the biggest bloke so I'd probably come off second-best.
"I was angry, but nervous as well. I didn't know what to do.
"He was, like, 'Mate, just keep doing what you're doing and I'll sort it out'."
The determination to play for their brother became clear when play resumed.
Nick scored a try and set up several more, while Mitch's tackling was ruthless and his ire obvious even from the sidelines.
After the match, Kyle praised his players for their refusal to let the injuries and interruptions distract them from the game.
"The fact that we played 40 minutes with one on the bench and still won 56-12 is a wonderful effort," Kyle said.
"I brought the boys back into the changeroom at the break and explained that the injuries have come on foul play and it's not something that we stand for.
"It's really important that we came out and then delivered for our crowd and delivered for the boys that were injured."
The win will catapult the Bulldogs to the top of the Canberra Raiders Cup ladder, and Kyle said that the Easter break has come at exactly the right time as they prepare for a top-of-the-table clash against Woden in a fortnight.
"It's probably come at a great time for us, there's a few battered and bruised bodies in the changeroom," he said.
"It gives us a chance to assess a few injuries, and we come up against Woden in a couple of weeks, who are also undefeated."
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