Penrith Panthers, Cronulla Sharks, Stephen Crichton to see plastic surgeon after suffering gruesome injury in collision with Dale Finucane
Stephen Crichton required stitches to put his ear back together after a crunching hit from Dale Finucane – who has since been charged for the incident.
Finucane flew out of the Sharks’ line and didn’t miss – the Panthers centre immediately hit the deck and was taken from the field for a HIA, but with only 10 minutes left, his night was finished.
The Panthers were immediately up after the collision, but referee Ashley Klein said the hit was fair.
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For Fox Sports, Michael Ennis praised Finucane for the hit.
“He is just so tenacious Dale Finucane. He has got no respect for his body. He just launched at Crichton,” he said.
“I don’t think he knew where he wanted to hit him. He just wanted to hit him. He was trying to force an error.
“He is not a dirty player. There is no malice in that from Finucane.”
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The Panthers rallied from their biggest deficit of the season to win the clash 20-10, despite the Sharks racing out to an early 10-nill lead at the 11-minute mark. Cronulla failed to score again for the rest of the match.
Speaking after the match, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said Crichton was in good spirits, but his memory of the clash was hazy. He added that Finucane’s evasion of punishment was not a good look.
“I’m sure Dale Finucane, the last thing he wanted to do was injure (Crichton), (but) historically a head clash has been a head clash,” he said.
“For how easy it is to give a high tackle penalty away now – for contact with the head … it looked bad and Critter (Crichton) is not in a great way.”
“That’s clearly contact with the head – like, it knocks him out.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen his ear? That looks like a car crash so it’s weird that that’s OK but the mildest of taps are sometimes not.”
Cleary said Crichton was on his way to hospital, where he will undergo plastic surgery to repair his damaged ear.
Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon defended his former captain, saying the hit wasn’t from a swinging arm.
“It hit him straight in the head, his arms slung up after,” he told reporters.
“It was a big head clash from what I saw, his arms did sort of come up spectacularly after it but I thought it was pretty flush contact with the head.”
— With Emily Patterson
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