Warriors coach Andrew Webster defends Shaun Johnson move amid uproar over Luke Keary act

Keary could find himself in hot water after the tackle on the Warriors player.

Warriors coach Andrew Webster has defended the decision to allow an injured Shaun Johnson to play on in the 38-18 loss to the Roosters on Sunday, with the Warriors halfback now in doubt for the NRL's Magic Round. Johnson was hurt after a contentious incident involving Luke Keary midway through the opening half, with many fans accusing the Roosters playmaker of using a 'chicken wing' style tackle on the Warriors half.

Keary wasn't penalised at the time and on Monday escaped suspension after being handed an $1800 fine for dangerous contact after grabbing Johnson's arm and bending it awkwardly in the tackle. Johnson immediately felt the pain from the incident and stayed down for several moments on the turf, with his arm hanging limply and the veteran half looking clearly compromised for the remainder of the match.

Pictured left is Luke Keary tackling Shaun Johnson.
Luke Keary came under fire from NRL fans for a 'chicken wing' style tackle that injured Shaun Johnson. Pic: Nine/Getty

Johnson played on and lasted most of the second half before finally succumbing to the pectoral muscle injury and coming off inside the final 15 minutes. Webster revealed after the match that he'd had a "tough conversation" with his star playmaker at halftime about playing on before revealing that he is now in doubt for next week's Magic Round clash against the Panthers in Brisbane.

“I don’t know if he’s good for next week,” Webster said. “He battled on at halftime, it was a tough conversation. He wanted to go on. “He said, ‘I want to go and fight here’, and I’m really proud of him, the way he wanted to do that.

“If there was going to be an issue there I would not want him (to). If it’s going to end up a ruptured pec I would not have him on the field but he’s very sore at the moment. It started hurting him when he was passing the footy.”

The incident shone a spotlight on the tackle from Keary, who was charged for the tackle but not suspended after the match review committee released their findings on Monday. Many fans were angry the Warriors didn't even receive a penalty for the tackle and were fuming that Keary was not sin-binned for the tackle.

Four Roosters were charged for incidents against the Warriors but only back-up half Sandon Smith is facing time on the sideline, after making late contact with Dylan Walker after kicking. Smith will face a one-match ban if he pleads guilty to the charge, while risking a second game if he fights it and loses.

Joseph Suaalii was charged with grade-one dangerous contact for leading with his knees into a tackle from Wayde Egan and faces a a $1000 fine. And Angus Crichton was also perhaps fortunate to escape with just a fine, after being hit with a grade-one charge for tripping Dallin Waetene-Zelezniak.

The Roosters blew the Warriors away on Sunday with a four-try blitz in 10 first half minutes, the first of which came after a Keary charge down. Dominic Young and Crichton both traded two tries apiece to see the Roosters jump out to a big lead, with the menacing runs of Joey Manu setting up two of those four-pointers.


While their right dominated on Sunday, their best try came when Manu went left and found fellow centre Suaali, who put James Tedesco over. Another came down the left late on when Keary chipped ahead and the superb Sam Walker was there to scoop up the ball and score.

Seen here, Roosters centre Joey Manu is tackled against the Warriors in the NRL.
Roosters centre Joey Manu was a real handful for the Warriors defenders in his side's big win in the NRL on Sunday. Pic: Getty

"We're always evolving and trying to get better," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said after his side's latest big win. The Roosters have now put on 138 points in three weeks to become arguably the most dangerous attacking side in the competition at present.

"You need to have strings to pull in the NRL at different times, depending on what the conditions are, the opposition you're playing against, the game situation," Robinson added. "And some of the important combination work we're doing really, really well. Now it's about layering on some of the strings to pull in different sorts of games. So we're going to continue on in the mindset that we've been attacking probably the last six weeks and keep improving on the tools to manage the game."

with AAP