NRL 2019: Nick Cotric sent off as Raiders crush Dragons

Canberra centre Nick Cotric became the first NRL player sent off in 2019 after a tip-tackle on St George Illawarra's Tim Lafai.   

NSW representative Cotric was playing his first game back from a syndesmosis injury and scored the opening try, before putting Lafai on his head in the 59th minute on Sunday evening in Wollongong.   

It marked the first sendoff since Melbourne's Curtis Scott was dismissed in round 11 last year for punching Manly star Dylan Walker.   

It was the first send-off for a dangerous throw since Peter Driscoll in 1995.   

The match review committee has sinced charged Cotric and the 20-year-old is facing a five-match ban,which Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said the club would fight.   

The NRL judiciary has charged Cotric with a grade three dangerous throw meaning he faces a three-game ban with an early guilty plea or five matches out if he contests the charge and loses.

Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker said he was surprised to see referee Ashley Klein dismiss Cotric.   

"I thought he was pretty unlucky. I thought it might be put on report but not a send-off," Croker said.   

"If that's a send-off then [Mikaele] Ravalawa's shot on me in the first half should have been. I'm not calling for that because that's just footy, but we need consistency.   

"He doesn't have a bad bone in his body, Nick. It was a tough one."   

Stuart said the 20-year-old Cotric was "shattered" and echoed Croker's call for consistency from the NRL.   

"He's a young boy, no malice in the kid. My heart went out to him because I know how much he's hurting. He was asking me 'what's going to happen?'. He wants to play footy. We'll fight it," Stuart said.   

"There's been that much talk about foul play. [Parramatta forward Peni] Terepo two weeks ago breaks Jordan [Rapana's] nose and nothing.   

"Jarrod Croker makes a break into open space tonight, a chance to score a try and or a try assist and Ravalawa comes across and whacks him in in the head and nothing, but I lose a player [to HIA].   

"I feel sorry for the officials who have to react to all this hype around cases of eye-gouging, whacks around the head, late hits, none of those blokes have been sent off, yet one of my guys get sent off.   

"I just through it was very harsh."   

Stuart conceded Cotric may have deserved to be sin-binned but said he wasn't the only one.   

"If they think it's that bad I think a sin-bin takes effect ... but Ravalawa's shot tonight, why didn't he get binned?" Stuart said.   

"I feel sorry for the referees because I believe they're unclear with the interpretations or what they should call."   

AAP

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