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25 Mar 2017 10:49
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Dugan head knock sours Dragons win

    The NRL concussion debate has been reignited after Josh Dugan appeared to be knocked out in St George Illawarra's win over Cronulla.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    The NRL concussion debate has been reignited after Josh Dugan remained on the field despite being laid out in St George Illawarra's upset 16-10 win over Cronulla.

    The first half incident soured what was a gutsy win for the Dragons at Southern Cross Group Stadium with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan questioning why he wasn't taken from the field.

    Dugan lay on the ground after copping a stray elbow from teammate Russell Packer in a tackle on Paul Gallen, stopping the game for at least a minute.

    After being attended to by the Dragons trainers, he received the all clear.

    Dragons coach Paul McGregor said his No.1 had received a knock to the jaw and denied he had been knocked out by a blow to the head.

    However Flanagan and Gallen both questioned why he wasn't taken from the field for an automatic head injury assessment.

    "It was a bit strange. If you lay motionless I thought you had to come off," Flanagan said.

    Gallen added: "I said to the referee he's got to go off and and he said it's not his decision."

    Flanagan stressed he didn't know where Dugan was hit but referred to the NRL's concussion protocols which state any player who exhibits any signs of concussion - such as laying prone on the ground - must he taken from the field for examination.

    However McGregor was adamant his charge hadn't been knocked out.

    "I think it was a jaw injury not a head injury, that's the report I got back in the box," McGregor said.

    "I've got Kurt Mann there (on the bench) so I've got a guy to put on straight away so it's not a big deal.

    "He said it was his jaw so I back the medical staff there."

    The Sharks had their own head knock problems with second-rower Wade Graham ending the game on the sidelines.

    He came from the field in the first half after having the ball kicked into his head however passed his HIA test.

    But Graham was later taken off after displaying symptoms of concussion.

    It is a hot topic for the NRL with James McManus suing Newcastle for the mismanagement of head knocks throughout his career.

    The Knights were on the weekend criticised for not taking fullback Brendan Elliot off sooner after he copped a blow to the head from Souths' Hymel Hunt.

    A Euan Aitken first-half double proved the difference as the Dragons held off a second half fightback from the Sharks.

    On five occasions they got over the line or looked certain to score, only to be held up, be denied by some desperate Dragons defence or have it called back by the whistleblowers.

    The game reached a flashpoint late in the first-half when Ricky Leutele appeared to score however it was called back because Edrick Lee's last pass was deemed forward.

    Replays showed Lee's pass appeared to be backwards out of the hands and it proved crucial as the Dragons gutsed out their second win from their opening three games.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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