With the referees coming under heavy scrutiny for not calling a penalty as soon as the swinging arm made contact with Hayne’s chin, Hayne stood up, and head-butted Payne, resulting in both players being sent to the sin-bin.
This was not the last brawl and sin-binnings we would see however, with both Michael Ennis and Nathan Hindmarsh also being sent to the bin, with some saying Ennis jibed Hindmarsh. This was later denied by Hindmarsh, though some think he is protecting Ennis.
The Eels started the game well and raced away to a 14-0 lead, courtesy of two tries to fullback Jarryd Hayne, who hit his straps. This was the last of the Eels dominance however, as they fell apart after their players were sent to the sin-bin, as the Dogs ended up winning 34-14.
The last 8 or so minutes of the first-half, as well as the start of the second half was a godsend for the Dogs, as they scored 20 points in 11 minutes, and asserted their dominance after that.
What intrigued everyone however was the post-game attack from Nathan Hindmarsh on Michael Ennis, something that we are perhaps not use to when thinking of the family man, Nathan Hindmarsh.
Hayne refused to comment after the game, but Hindmarsh was livid at himself for reacting how he did, but he did highlight that Ennis is a grub, perhaps one of the NRL’s worst.
“Nothing was said, he’s just a grub,” Hindmarsh said when asked why he reacted with such venom.
“He got under my skin and I retaliated, which I shouldn’t have.
“I just lost my cool and I’m disappointed with that because I’ve been niggled by better.”
Ennis, who played Origin alongside Hindmarsh brushed the attack off, claiming, “I’ve been called worse at home”.
“My wife would be sitting at home laughing, that’s a light spray.
“Hindy’s entitled to his opinion, he can say whatever he likes.
“At the end of the day he’s the one that came back and threw punches – there was certainly nothing said that was personal … it was more along the lines of if you’re going to do something then do it.”
Eels coach Stephen Kearney said that his side had no right to just cave in and capitulate the way that they did, and that there will be tough training ahead.
” … they had 12 men as well so that doesn’t change – it was costly in the sense that we probably lost a bit of momentum there but we ended up getting the penalty,” he said.
One positive for the Eels however, was the good early form of Jarryd Hayne in this game. After coming under-fire from Eels fans and NRL experts for his poor form, he lifted against the Dogs.
It is this sort of form that Eels fans would now expect to see consistently, with the hope that perhaps, there are some good wins around the corner, as the Eels re-build their side under Kearney.