Josh Addo-Carr felt the full brunt of a painful Queensland backlash in Origin III, with the NSW winger left on the ground in agony after a Tino Fa’asuamaleaui hit in the back.
Addo-Carr had taken a run midway through the first half and was being held by Queensland prop Christian Welch, while Maroons five-eighth Cameron Munster had also tentatively joined the tackle from the side.
Addo-Carr’s back was turned and just as his momentum began to slow, Fa’asuamaleaui smashed him right around the spine. The Blues flyer fell to the ground in agony and needed medical attention, before managing to play on and finish the game.
The hit wasn’t illegal but was a borderline ‘prowler’ tackle, in which a third man comes in and whacks a vulnerable player already being held by two tacklers. In Fa’asuamaleaui’s defence, Addo-Carr was not yet stationary – and certainly not held – when the hit was made. Fa’asuamaleaui was not penalised or charged for the hit.
The NRL never found an adequate solution to the prowler tackle, despite serious injuries suffered by Craig Wing and Reagan Campbell-Gillard; a dislocated shoulder and broken back bones respectively. The tacklers who injured Wing and Campbell-Gillard, Riley Brown and Ryan James respectively, were not charged.
The ‘prowler’ never became a common problem and a similar tackle – the cannonball, in which a third tackler attacks a held players legs – was banned. Addo-Carr appeared to have avoided any serious damage but was clearly in severe pain after being struck unawares by the 107kg Fa’asuamaleaui.
“That hurt,” Nine commentator Ray Warren said. “You could feel it at home.”
“Right in the back… nothing illegal,” NSW great Andrew Johns added. “He’s not looking so he wouldn’t be bracing for that and it just hits him right in the kidneys.”
Coincidentally, all the players involved in the tackle were past or present Melbourne Storm teammates. Fa’asuamaleaui now plays for the Gold Coast Titans, while Addo-Carr will move to the Canterbury Bulldogs next season.
Addo-Carr, aka ‘The Foxx’, finished the series just one try behind the record for most Origin tries for NSW; he has scored 10, trailing only Jarryd Hayne and Michael O’Connor on 11. He has now played 12 games for the Blues.
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