EverySt George great Steve Morris has labelled Justin Hodges a “grub” after he shockingly hammered injured Dragons winger Brett Morris as he lay on the ground at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Morris, father to Brett and Josh, said his son was brave to try to play on with the injury for 10 minutes, but condemned Hodges’s tackle as a “barbaric act” which the NRL must stamp out immediately.
Brett Morris suffered a syndesmosis ankle ligament injury – or high ankle sprain – and fell to the ground with the ball in his hands in the 54th minute of his side’s 13-12 loss to Brisbane Broncos. Hodges then slid into the Kangaroos and NSW Blues representative as he writhed in agony.
However, the NRL match review on Monday committee cleared Hodges of any wrongdoing in the incident, and also ruled that Peter Wallace had no case to answer after being placed on report for a high shot on Darius Boyd.
“He’s a grub. It was a grubby act to do that while someone is obviously injured,” Steve Morris said of Hodges.
“To do that while they’re on the ground. He was basically defenceless. It’s got to be stamped out now. Say he had a shoulder injury and Hodges comes flying in to hit him like that. That’s a barbaric act. You can’t do that. What he did was low. He got him when he was obviously injured. He could have been seriously injured.”
It is understood Brett Morris had no issue with Hodges, although other St George Illawarra players were privately fuming about the incident.
However, Steve Morris said a penalty had to be awarded against Hodges and he warned that the failure of referees Matt Cecchin and Tony Archer to protect players on Saturday night has set a dangerous precedent for similar incidents in the future.
“That should have at least been a penalty,” he said. “Can you imagine how the crowd would have reacted if it was a Broncos player? He’d get 10 minutes in the bin straight away.
“And the referees, they didn’t do anything. No penalty, no nothing. I was telling people all week the referees would decide the game. It’s not just because he’s my son. It’s just not something you want to see.”
Morris was more concerned about his injury as he hobbled off the plane inSydneywearing a moon boot. He may have done more damage by playing on.
It is understood Morris hurt his ankle when fielding a wobbly Darren Lockyer drop-out. He battled on with the injury, and there are fears he may have done further damage while leaping high to snuff out a Broncos bomb.
He is all but certain to miss Australia’s Four Nations campaign inEngland, beginning October 26, after scans in Brisbane revealed he had a serious ankle injury – not a broken fibula as first thought.
“It was a tough blow to end the season but I’m in good hands,” said Morris, who will have further MRI scans this week.
Buford Balony says: We all know what Hodges is like and he has to make up for lost time as he only plays once a month.