NRL fans were rightfully asking what the heck was going on when Lachlan Lewis was allowed to stay on the field despite appearing to be clearly concussed after a horror head knock.
The Bulldogs five-eighth got his head in an awful position while trying to tackle Josh Mansour less than six minutes into the Good Friday clash against South Sydney.
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Lewis lay on the ground after the heavy hit, then tried to get back to his feet and return to the defensive line. But he was no chance of making it, Rabbitohs players rushing to their opponent’s aid and holding him up so he didn’t take another tumble.
Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane was convinced Lewis’ day was over.
“When they go down again, it doesn’t even need inspection from the doctor,” he said.
However, the Bulldogs trainer let Lewis continue, and he was back in the line defending for the rest of the set.
“No. No, no, no, no,” Ginnane said.
Braith Anasta added: “That’s a surprise. I can’t see that lasting long.”
Lewis hung around for the Bulldogs’ next attacking set too but at the changeover, the referee blew time off and the Bulldogs had changed their mind, pulling him from the field for a head injury assessment.
“This can’t be right,” Ginnane said. “You can’t have a situation where everyone in the crowd, everyone watching at home can see what’s going to happen and yet he’s out there for another set.”
Fans couldn’t believe Lewis wasn’t dragged off the field immediately.
Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield tweeted: “Wtf. Get Lachlan Lewis off. PLEASE.”
Journalist Bernie Coen said he was “staggered” Lewis “wasn’t taken off straight away”.
Brett McKay wrote: “That’s ridiculous that Lewis was allowed to stay on the field. Either the @NRL is serious about concussion, or it isn’t.”
Jessica Dunne said: “That took way too long to get him off the field.”
It was confirmed later in the first half Lewis had failed his HIA and would not return to the field.
The controversial call to let him stay out there initially came after the NRL this week rushed through a rule change that would allow teams to introduce an 18th man as a concussion substitute if three players are ruled out with head knocks, a decision made after last weekend’s shocking injury toll.
It was grim news for Lewis, who was making his first NRL appearance since Round 19 last year after Jake Averillo was ruled out for two weeks with an ankle injury.
The pivot is off contract at the end of the year and with Matt Burton arriving from Penrith in 2022 to wear the No. 6 jersey, Lewis is auditioning either for another club or to convince Canterbury he is worth keeping on their books as a utility next season.
Before the game he told Fox League he was going to concentrate on kicking well and making his tackles against the Bunnies, but he didn’t get that opportunity.