Melbourne Storm centre Curtis Scott has apologised for the punches that saw him sent off and left Manly’s Dylan Walker with a fractured eye socket on Saturday evening.
Scott became the first NRL player sent off since 2015 in his side’s 24-4 defeat to old rivals Manly, a match dominated by a series of spiteful clashes.
Walker and Manly’s Apisai Koroisau were sent to the sin bin for their involvement in the brawl, while Melbourne Storm’s Josh Addo-Carr was later binned for a professional foul.
Scott and Walker had a running battle during the match and after players from both sides wrestled early in the second half, the former started wildly throwing punches.
Walker will miss six weeks with a fractured eye socket, Manly confirmed on Sunday, but Scott can get away with a two-match suspension if he pleads guilty to a grade-three striking charge.
“While it doesn’t change what happened last night I would like to deeply apologise to my team, Manly and NRL fans for my actions. Not how I want to represent myself, my team, or the game,” Scott said on Sunday.
The NRL match review committee also announced on Sunday that Koroisau can accept a one-match ban with a guilty plea after being charged with striking, but that Walker – and Storm front-rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona, placed on report for a dangerous tackle – will not be suspended.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said after the match that Scott “needs to learn from this” before blasting his side’s performance as “crap”.
Stand-in captain Billy Slater, deputising for the suspended Cameron Smith, agreed.
“It lacked a lot of things. There were some real dumb plays, some irresponsible plays … it’s hard to beat anyone when you do that,” Slater said.
Walker could make his return from the injury against the Storm in Round 18 at Brookvale Oval.
Dragons, Sharks post Sunday victories
St George Illawarra Dragons remained one game clear on top of the NRL ladder after an exciting 25-18 victory over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday.
Canberra started brilliantly, crossing the line three times in the 13 minutes, but only one try stood.
Ricky Stuart’s side were full of life, though, and Jordan Rapana’s converted try gave them a 18-16 lead with 23 minutes to play.
Rapana was sent off for a professional foul shortly after, though, and after Gareth Widdop levelled the scores with a penalty, Dragons fullback Matt Dufty surged 50m before scoring the match-winning try in the 69th minute.
Cronulla also won on Sunday, making it five successive triumphs with a 22-16 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Despite Brett Morris’ double, the Bulldogs fell just short as second-half tries to Jesse Ramien and Matt Prior helped the Sharks to fifth on the ladder.
Heartbreak for Cowboys
The thriller of the weekend came on Saturday evening when a 79th-minute penalty from Adam Reynolds gave South Sydney a 20-19 win in Townsville against North Queensland.
The Cowboys thought they had won a nail-biter thanks to Michael Morgan’s late field goal but the Rabbitohs had just enough time to try and reply themselves.
And although Reynolds missed his field goal attempt, North Queensland hooker Jake Granville was adjudged offside, giving the Rabbitohs a penalty.
And Reynolds made no mistake to consign last season’s grand finalists to an eighth defeat of the season.
Also on Saturday, Gold Coast Titans beat Newcastle Knights 33-26, while Brisbane came from behind to beat the Sydney Roosters 28-22 on Friday night.
And Penrith and New Zealand kept the pressure on the Dragons with wins over the Wests Tigers and Parramatta respectively.