Gunnedah coach Sean Hayne has said “people can draw their own conclusions” after Bulldogs halfback Matt Brady was “knocked cold” by Bears prop Shane Wadwell in a crushing tackle at Jack Woolaston Oval on Sunday.
The tackle left Brady slumped on the ground. And after Bulldogs trainers attended to him, he left the field in a groggy state and did not return.
Hayne said it was "likely” that Brady, the reigning player of the year for both Group 4 and Gunnedah, would miss the Bulldogs’ special derby clash against Boggabri at Kitchener Park on Saturday – the inaugural Boyde Campbell Cup.
“People can draw their own conclusion if a bloke gets knocked out. But he was out cold for a while, so …,” Hayne said, although he admitted that he “couldn’t really see it [the incident]”.
He said Brady’s head may have hit the ground.
“That’s what the officials are out there for,” he said, in reference to whether it was a fair or an illegal hit.
Hayne added: “He [Brady] said he’s not too bad. We'll see how he goes. At this stage he’ll sit the week out.”
The incident occurred in the second half as the Bears were well top in a match they won 42-16.
It drew jeers from Gunnedah supporters but not a penalty, with play continuing as Brady lay on the ground.
The touch judge closest to the incident said he was unsighted, in what appeared to be a response to a query from the referee.
Wadwell’s front-row partner, James Cooper, kneeling over the stricken Brady, called for assistance.
Veteran Wadwell, relishing the move from the second-row to the front-row this season to “stiffen up” Norths’ middle, requested that The Leader seek a comment from Bears captain-coach Scott Blanch over the incident.
Blanch said: “There was obviously a lot of concern showed for Matt at the time [by Bears players] … As much as Chinny [Wadwell] plays the game hard and tough, and that’s the kind of player he is, I don’t believe he goes out there to intentionally hurt anyone.”
Saturday’s clash is in memory of Campbell, who played for the Bulldogs and the Roos and who died in the off-season.
The day is being supported by beyondblue, an independent non-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety disorders and related mental disorders.
The Bulldogs, whom Campbell played for last season, created a web page where people can make donations to combat mental illness.
Hayne said Campbell’s death was a “shock” that his players had dealt with “in their own way”.
Anyone needing support can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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