Cherry-Evans, Olakau’atu face bans as Eels fume

Scott Bailey |

Manly’s Haumole Olakau’atu shouldn’t be banned for his dangerous throw against the Eels.
Manly’s Haumole Olakau’atu shouldn’t be banned for his dangerous throw against the Eels.

Manly have suffered a mammoth double blow with Daly Cherry-Evans and Haumole Olakau’atu both facing bans for their dangerous throw on Shaun Lane.

After Olakau’atu was sin-binned on field on Friday night against Parramatta, the NRL’s match review committee deemed both at fault on Saturday morning.

The double act has earned the pair grade-two charges, leaving them each with two-game suspensions that will balloon to three matches if they challenge and lose at the judiciary.

The charges also further frustrated the Eels, whom AAP understand to be fuming over several key calls in their 32-18 loss on Friday night.

Parramatta are miffed at why Cherry-Evans did not join Olakau’atu in the bin for the first-half tackle, if he was equally at fault.

Double sin-binnings for the one incident are extremely rare in the NRL. 

But referee Gerard Sutton could be heard indicating to Cherry-Evans his involvement was a mitigating factor that saved Olakau’atu from being sent off.

Parramatta also maintain Tom Trbojevic was offside on a kick chase in the second half which led to left Eels centre Will Penisini sin-binned for a professional foul.

The Eels believe they should have received a penalty instead and would have been on the attack with all 13 men on the field at 18-14 down during the second half.

And then the Eels are puzzled as to why Ethan Sanders was denied a second-half try after a double knock-on was called against the Eels.

Parramatta successfully challenged they had not knocked on in the play, but a mutual infringement of the referee’s whistle stopped Sanders scoring the try.

The Eels loss left them 14th on the ladder headed into next week’s bye and with pressure growing on coach Brad Arthur after a 3-5 start to the season.

Manly also have issues now given the bans their dynamite right edge of Cherry-Evans and Olakau’atu are facing.

Cherry-Evans’ first suspension of his 14-year career would likely leave Jake Arthur in the halves against Canberra and the Dolphins.

Olakau’atu’s absence will also be felt, given fellow second-rower Ben Trbojevic is also sidelined for the next fortnight with a hamstring injury.

Karl Lawton and Ethan Bullemore are options to start in the Tongan international’s place, with Brad Parker another alternative after shifting from centre to second row this year.

After the game, Cherry-Evans had hoped his role in the tackle would save Olakau’atu from any ban.

“I definitely had a role in the tackle,” Cherry-Evans said on Friday night. 

“It just overcompensated what was happening in the tackle. Ten minutes in the bin was probably fair. 

“I’d like to think that’s hopefully all and we’ll move on.”

For Parramatta, Maika Sivo and Ryan Matterson can both accept fines for dangerous contact and a high tackle respectively.

Sivo was sin-binned for his dangerous contact on Reuben Garrick, while Matterson’s high hit on Luke Brooks in the first half went unpunished.