St George Illawarra Dragons hooker, Mark Riddell has submitted an early guilty plea to the NRL and will be sidelined for the next four matches.
Riddell was sent off in the 75th minute of Sunday's round nine match at WIN Stadium. He was charged with a grade two reckless high tackle on Canberra Raiders' five eighth, Mark McLinden. Replays show Riddell coming in late and high just after McLinden got a kick away. While this looked worthy of being placed on report, the WIN Stadium crowd were stunned when referee Paul Simpkins gave the St George hooker his marching orders. A distraught Riddell broke down on the sideline and later again in the dressing room as the enormity of his error hit home.
This was Riddell's first match back following a similar incident against Canterbury's Braith Anasta in round three which also saw him sent off and suspended for four matches.
In the same match, Raiders' forward, Troy Thompson was placed on report for a high tackle in the 61st minute on Saints back rower, Lance Thompson. The head high tackle forced a concussed Lance Thompson from the field. Troy Thompson has pleaded to grade four careless high tackle and will receive a one match suspension.
In a match that was often scrappy, Canberra went into the half-time break holding a convincing 21-8 point lead over an uninspiring Saints side. For the first time in living memory, the Dragons' home crowd booed their team from the field. In something of a turnaround, Saints came back in the second half and managed to snatch a 21-all draw when half back, Willie Peters kicked a field goal after full-time.
Canberra were fuming over referee Simpkins' decision to call time off so a scrum could pack down - the TV clock showing zero seconds left. Canberra were then penalised for offside. Peters' calmly took the free tap and potted the equaliser, salvaging one competition point. Canberra lodged an unprecedented appeal against the result which the NRL later rejected.
Scorers: St George Illawarra Dragons 21 (Tries: Timmins 2, Millard, Riddell. Goals: Riddell 2/3, J.Smith 0/1. Field Goal: Peters) draw with Canberra Raiders 21 (Tries: Lolesi 2, Jensen, Martin. Goals: Graham 2/4. Field Goal: Finch)? Half time score: Dragons 8 - Raiders 21 Venue: WIN Stadium? Referee: P Simpkins