Jackson Ford can consider himself lucky not to have been sent from the field after an ugly piece of foul play in St George Illawarra's 24-16 loss to the Sydney Roosters in Wollongong on Thursday night.
The Dragons lock was condemned over an incident involving Roosters playmaker Luke Keary, where he tried to stop the halfback from crossing the try-line late in the game.
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Keary had burst through a hole in the Dragons' defence and was about to cross the try-line when Ford came sliding across in an attempt to stop the Roosters halfback.
However, the Saints lock couldn't get to Keary with a traditional tackle so he threw a leg out which caused Keary to topple over the try line.
Keary managed to score the four-pointer but his head came crashing down hard on the turf as a result of the contact from Ford.
Calling the game in commentary for Channel Nine, league Immortal Andrew Johns called it a "trip" and blasted the Dragons player for the "dangerous" act.
"THAT'S A SEND OFF!" 🔥🔥— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) August 6, 2020
Gus and Joey blow-up over a disgraceful trip!
Jackson Ford was only placed on report for the incident.
STREAM: https://t.co/qROuZdXPWL#9WWOS #NRL #NRLDragonsRoosters pic.twitter.com/r9uFIT5zRy
"Jackson Ford will come over. Look how Keary lands there. Watch the way Keary lands, he gets him totally off balance. Keary lands straight on his head," Johns said while watching the replays.
"He's had a history with concussions, Luke Keary. That could have been really dangerous. Well, it was dangerous. He could have knocked him completely out."
Co-commentator Phil Gould agreed with Johns that it was a shocking play from Ford that deserved to see him sent off.
"Well that's nearly the send-off offence," Gould said. "In the old days that's a send-off.
"You can't do that. There are ones where you get wrong-footed and you stick a foot out but this is one where he's actually can't get there with his hands and he's kicked out with his legs.
"It's a send-off, that should have been a send-off."
Ford could face a stint on the sidelines over the incident after being placed on report for the apparent trip.
Fast-finishing Roosters see off Dragons
Although promising in stages, the Dragons were overcome by the undermanned Roosters, who moved up to fourth spot on the NRL ladder.
The defeat came hours after star Saints prop Paul Vaughan was stood down for the next fortnight by the NRL.
Level at 10-all at half-time, the Roosters had enough class left on the field to snatch the win with three tries to one after the long break.
With 15 minutes to play the Dragons were down by six when a lazy defensive play brought it all undone.
A spiralling bomb from Keary was left to bounce and James Tedesco was on the spot to feed it to Joseph Manu to score untouched.
Frustrated at the loss and the chaos of the day, Dragons coach Paul McGregor was despondent.
"It's not what you need from one of your senior players and someone who is so important to your footy team," he said.
"There were patches where we were really good.
"We spoke about catching the ball and that bounce of the ball really changed the game at 16-10.
"They came in hard and both teams were working really hard for each other but that bounce of the ball really broke us there."
As it stands at the start of round 13, the Dragons are four points out of the top eight and will need to win at least six of their last seven games against top teams to be a chance to make the finals.