Payten confused over Townsend’s hip-drop sin-binning

Scott Bailey |

Chad Townsend’s sin-binning for a hip drop tackle mystified Cowboys coach Todd Payten.
Chad Townsend’s sin-binning for a hip drop tackle mystified Cowboys coach Todd Payten.

Todd Payten has become the latest coach to question the bunker’s rulings on hip-drop tackles, unhappy Chad Townsend was sin-binned against Gold Coast.

The North Queensland No.7 was sin-binned in the Cowboys’ 35-22 win in Townsville on Sunday, after a tackle on Jayden Campbell left the Titan with a sore ankle.

Townsend’s sin-binning briefly allowed the Titans back into the match, before the Cowboys iced their fourth victory of the year and kept Gold Coast winless.

Townsend’s tackle did not look like a conventional hip drop.

While Campbell’s ankle was twisted, Townsend’s body did not fall directly on Campbell’s lower leg, as per the NRL’s indicators for the tackle.

It comes after Sydney Roosters lock Victor Radley was sin-binned in similar circumstances on Friday night, but not charged by the match review committee on Saturday.

“I thought (Townsend’s tackle) was pretty innocuous, to be fair,” Payten said. 

“I thought he was already on the ground. So it wasn’t a proper hip drop. The kid got up and played on, no dramas. 

“I’ve seen one two weeks ago where Jack Wighton didn’t get penalised at all (against Canterbury on Good Friday). 

“Victor Radley gets put in the bin, and doesn’t get charged. So I’m not sure around it. But Chad’s in particular, I think the sin-binning was harsh.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson on Friday labelled the bunker’s decision to bin Radley as “ridiculous” and “below par”, while Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo said it was “harsh”.

Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon admitted last weekend he was confused by the NRL’s rulings on hip-drop tackles, after Sharks prop Toby Rudolf was injured by one in round three but Tiger John Bateman escaped without charge.

Meanwhile, Payten fears the Cowboys have lost centre Zac Laybutt for the season with a suspected ACL rupture.

Laybutt’s injury is in his right knee, with the 22-year-old having previously ruptured the ACL in his left knee while still in high school.

Tommy Chester, Viliami Vailea and Semi Valemei are all options to replace him.

As comprehensive as the Cowboys’ win was, Payten said he still had concerns around their defence.

While North Queensland sit second on the ladder, they have conceded 20 or more points in four of their five games this year.

“I just don’t like how they’re scoring (against us),” Payten said. 

“Not enough of the tries are going in the corner. They’re coming through the teeth of the ruck.”