Souths’ personnel crisis worsens as Milne banned

Jasper Bruce |

Taane Milne is likely to miss the next two matches for his tackle on Melbourne’s Cameron Munster.
Taane Milne is likely to miss the next two matches for his tackle on Melbourne’s Cameron Munster.

South Sydney’s personnel crisis has worsened with Taane Milne set to miss the struggling team’s next two games for his shot on Cameron Munster.

It comes as St George Illawarra fullback Tyrell Sloan avoided suspension for kicking Sam Walker’s head in a tackle during the traditional Anzac Day match against the Sydney Roosters.

Repeat offender Milne took Munster’s legs out as the Melbourne five-eighth was held upright in a tackle during the final minute of the Rabbitohs’ 50-24 loss on Thursday.

Milne went to the sin bin for the “cannonball” tackle, a kind of hit that can cause serious leg injury, and was lashed by under-pressure coach Jason Demetriou in the post-match press conference.

“It ends a dumb night on a dumb note,” the Souths coach said.

“I’ll have to have a look at it, I didn’t look at it closely, but frustrating way to end the night.”

If Milne accepts the early guilty plea for his grade-three dangerous contact charge, he will miss upcoming games against Penrith and St George Illawarra.

He risks sitting out an extra game, against North Queensland, by challenging the charge at the NRL judiciary.

The two-game ban adds to Demetriou’s woes as he fights to keep his job in charge of the last-placed Rabbitohs.

Still searching for their second win of the season, the Rabbitohs couldn’t afford to lose another member of their backline with Latrell Mitchell (suspension), Campbell Graham, Alex Johnston and Richie Kennar (injured) all unavailable for next week’s clash against reigning premiers Penrith.

Demetriou intimated after the loss to the Storm – Souths’ sixth from seven games this year – Izaac Thompson would come into the side to replace Milne.

Thompson was 18th man for the Anzac Day loss and played on the wing in the round-five loss to the Warriors.

Milne’s mindless shot adds to his unenviable rap sheet. The 28-year-old became the first man sent off in a finals match in almost 30 years when he hit Spencer Leniu high during the 2022 play-offs, again once the match was well out of reach for Souths.

He received a six-game ban on that occasion and was charged three times again across 2023, though he did not spend any more time on the sidelines.

But Milne’s latest hit was listed as a first offence with his recent grade-one offences wiped from his record given it occurred more than 10 games ago.

Elsewhere, Sloan will be free to face local rivals Cronulla next week, receiving $2,000 in fines for the two grade-one dangerous contacts charge that came out of the Dragons’ 60-18 loss to the Sydney Roosters.

Sloan appeared to kick out at Walker’s head as he regathered his footing to play the ball late in the first half of the traditional Anzac Day clash.

He was cited again for sliding in and making contact with Luke Keary as the Roosters five-eighth scored his side’s sixth try, copping a second $1,000 fine.