St George Illawarra forward Tyrell Fuimaono faces being suspended for the start of the NRL season after being accused of an ugly hip-drop tackle which left Eels rival Haze Dunster with a serious knee injury in a trial on Sunday night.
Indigenous All-Stars representative Fuimaono, who was suspended late last year for a similar tackle on former Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai, was one of three players sin-binned in the first half as each side fielded a host of prospective round-one starters.
Fuimaono spent 10 minutes on the sideline for the tackle on Dunster, which left the young winger writhing in agony on the CommBank Stadium turf, while teammate Tautau Moga and Eels forward Ryan Matterson were also banished for high shots in St George Illawarra’s 26-22 comeback win.
Both teams ran on replacement players for the sin bins to ensure neither team defended with just 12 players in the energy-sapping conditions.
But of most concern for the Dragons will be the fate of Fuimaono, whose chequered disciplinary record could see him facing a stint on the sidelines. The match review committee will hand down their findings on Monday, while the Eels will send Dunster for scans on his injury.
Fuimaono was also banned for five matches for a high tackle on Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen, for which he was sent off during the Magic Round crackdown last year. Papenhuyzen missed almost half the season as he recovered from the resulting heavy concussion.
There were injury concerns for the Dragons, too, whose promising outside back Max Feagai limped off with an ankle problem as coach Anthony Griffin’s first game since the St George Illawarra board extended his contract for 2023 was one full of drama.
The Eels blasted to a 16-0 lead in as many minutes before the Dragons levelled through three tries before half-time, the last of which was to Moga, who is trying to resurrect his NRL career at a sixth club.