Freddy Lussick referred to judiciary over tackle on Lachlan Ilias; Balmain Tigers icon Keith Barnes dies

The NRL confirmed Mitchell was issued with a concerning act notice for his lifting tackle on Warriors skipper Tohu Harris from the same game on Saturday.

Match review committee coordinator Luke Patten said Mitchell would have faced a longer stretch on the sidelines had Johnson suffered a serious injury. The force Mitchell used was “moderate”, the NRL ruled.

A grade-three dangerous contact charge carries a four-match ban, and Mitchell would have been facing at least six weeks on the sidelines had he been referred.

Billy Slater said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show Mitchell could have been rubbed out “half the season” had Johnson broken his jaw.

Latrell Mitchell will miss the next three games for South Sydney.

Latrell Mitchell will miss the next three games for South Sydney.Credit: NRL Photos

“The match review committee viewed the contact and assigned ‘grade two’ based predominantly on the level of force,” Patten said. “The MRC can also consider injury when assessing grading, and in this case there was no injury suffered.”

NRL head of football Graham Annesley said on Monday Mitchell could have easily been sent to the sin bin for the ugly Johnson incident.

As Mitchell misses games against Cronulla, Melbourne and Penrith – Jye Gray will debut at fullback on Saturday against the Sharks – Lussick is facing more than a month on the sidelines for his tackle on Ilias.

The New Zealand Warriors rake rushed through in the final minute of Saturday’s NSW Cup game against Souths and wiped out Ilias as he kicked.

Ilias, playing his third game in reserve grade since being dropped from the NRL side, had to be assisted from the field before scans confirmed a broken tibia.

Lachie Ilias is assisted from the field on Saturday.

Lachie Ilias is assisted from the field on Saturday.Credit: Getty

Lussick was sent off at Accor Stadium. On Monday, the NSW Rugby League charged him with dangerous contact. His hearing is set for Wednesday.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George said on Monday: “We’re reviewing the matter as we speak. We’ll respect the process. Freddy is shattered by what’s happened. It was not a deliberate act or meant to cause harm.

“He does appear to run through the line, and doesn’t dive for his [Ilias’] legs.”

Ilias told this masthead as he left Accor Stadium: “It hurts, but it’s footy. I know Freddy didn’t mean to do it. I know Freddy. I knew I had done something straight away. I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason. I just have to stay positive.”

Meanwhile, Parramatta have received a boost with Reagan Campbell-Gillard avoiding suspension for hitting Canberra’s Simi Sasagi with his shoulder.

Campbell-Gillard was placed on report for the 77th-minute shot on Sasagi during Sunday’s heavy 41-8 loss to the Raiders. The powerhouse prop was charged with a grade-one dangerous high contact, which carries an $1800 fine.

Chad Townsend was charged with grade-one dangerous contact for his tackle on Jayden Campbell, which led to him being sin-binned during the Cowboys’ big win on Sunday. Like Campbell-Gillard, Townsend can escape with a fine.

Roosters winger Dominic Young also accepted a two-match ban for his high shot on Canterbury’s Blake Taaffe, which rules him out of Thursday’s match against his former club, Newcastle.

Tigers mourn the loss of ‘Golden Boots’ Barnes

Keith ‘Golden Boots’ Barnes has died, aged 89, after spending more than half his life working in rugby league as an icon of the Balmain Tigers.

Barnes died on Sunday night and has been described as “one of the all-time greats of the game” after playing 194 games for the Tigers between 1955 and 1968.

Nicknamed ‘Golden Boots’ for his famously accurate goal kicking, Barnes once kicked a match-winning penalty goal from well inside his own half at Leichhardt Oval against the all-conquering Dragons in the middle of their 11-premiership run in 1960.

Barnes’ legendary toe poking of the old leather balls delivered 1519 points by the end of his career, the figure standing as the league’s all-time pointscoring record until it was broken by Eric Simms in 1973.

Keith “Golden Boots” Barnes, pictured playing for the Tigers in 1968.

Keith “Golden Boots” Barnes, pictured playing for the Tigers in 1968.Credit: Fairfax Media

Born in Wales before moving to Wollongong in his teens, Barnes was recruited by the Tigers at 19 and played in three losing grand finals, captaining Balmain in the latter two. He played 17 Tests for the Kangaroos, captaining them 14 times, and 12 games for NSW.

Towards the end of his career Barnes captain-coached the club before also acting as an expert commentator on Channel Ten. A year after he retired, Balmain famously broke a 21-year premiership drought, winning the club’s last title in 1969.

Barnes served as an administrator and club chief executive for decades afterwards, only retiring after the Tigers 1999 merger with Wests Magpies.

He is credited with keeping a star-studded team of the late 1980s – which included Wayne Pearce, Paul Sironen, Steve Roach, Benny Elias and Garry Jack – together through shrewd management.

Barnes was honoured with the naming of a grandstand at Leichhardt Oval after him in 2009, and was acknowledged by current interim Tigers CEO Shane Richardson on Monday as “a man whose name is synonymous with the Tigers.

“He was a wonderfully gifted player but more than that, he was a tremendous person, a true gentleman, and a brilliant leader.”

ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys paid tribute to Barnes’ contribution to the game on and off the field as well. “Keith was one of the greatest fullbacks the game has seen,” V’landys said.

“A wonderful goalkicker and prolific point scorer, he was slight in stature but built with extraordinary courage.

“The stories of Keith’s skills but also importantly his leadership are renowned across the game, having captained the Kangaroos in 14 Test matches.

“Keith’s legend continued well after his playing career. He was instrumental in guiding so many of the game’s great players – particularly through his long association with Balmain.

“He was deservedly recognised for his contribution to the game with induction into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2007.“

The Tigers will mark Barnes’ passing with a minute’s silence and wear black armbands during Sunday’s clash with the Dragons at Campbelltown Stadium.

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