Brain explosion could cost Eels star finals clash
Parramatta forward Nathan Brown's brain explosion could cost him a finals appearance after being hit with a grade two shoulder charge for his hit on Canterbury's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Brown faces a two or three-week suspension for the shocking act, which earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin during the Eels' 12-6 loss to the Bulldogs that rocked their top-four hopes.
He will miss key clashes against Brisbane and Manly, as well as the first round of the finals if he fights the charge and loses.
Canterbury's Reimis Smith, meanwhile, will miss a week with an early guilty plea for his headbutt on Parramatta winger Maika Sivo.
The NRL match review committee hit Smith with a grade one striking charge for the offence, for which he too spent 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Canterbury coach Dean Pay didn't mince his words on Thursday night when reminded that Brown had attempted a few similar tackles in the first half.
"He was having a go all right. He was consistent," Pay said.
But with two games remaining before the finals, the last thing the Eels need is to lose their inspirational forward leader for a silly shot that was always going to end in strife.
With the scores locked at 6-all early in the second half, the game exploded when both teams were left with 12 men after Brown and Reimis Smith were sin binned in the space of two minutes.
Brown shot out of the line and didn't miss.
Watene-Zelezniak had to leave the field with a shoulder injury although he did return after receiving treatment.
"I didn't have a real close look at it but I thought his arm was away from his body," Arthur said.
The incident sparked an all-in melee when Josh Jackson had words with Brown and players came rushing in from everywhere.
Two minutes later Smith found himself in trouble when he lunged his head at Maiko Sivo that cut the big Fijian winger's face.
Pay was less than impressed, believing Brown was lucky to escape with a sin bin.
"If Reimis got 10 minutes, there is a big difference in it," Pay said.