Knee KO puts ref in hospital
Brad Walter and Glenn Jackson | July 18, 2009
SOUTH SYDNEY winger Jamie Simpson is unlikely to face any judiciary action over the collision that resulted in referee Tony De Las Heras being knocked unconscious and taken to a Brisbane hospital after collecting the knee of Broncos forward Tonie Carroll.
The NRL match review committee will look at the 66th-minute incident during the opening match of last night’s double-header at Suncorp Stadium but chief reviewer Greg McCallum indicated the panel was likely to accept Simpson’s claim that the collision was a “complete accident”.
“We will have a look at it but my first impression from seeing it on TV was that it was just a bad accident,” McCallum told the Herald.
Simpson, who suffered a groin injury in the collision, said he had been trying to avoid running into De Las Heras as the referee loomed in front of him after he broke into the clear.
The pair both changed direction and Simpson put his hands out to brace himself - like someone about to slam into a brick wall would - and De Las Heras hit the turf before then being run into at full pace by the pursuing Carroll.
“I really didn’t do anything,” Simpson said. “I’m not sure if he was the first referee or the second referee but it was a complete accident. I think ‘Tunza’ [Carroll] did more damage than what I did.”
After initially appearing to recover, De Las Heras’s condition deteriorated and he was convulsing in the medical room when the Herald saw him just before he was taken to hospital in an ambulance. He had earlier been convulsing on the field and could be heard moaning through SportsEars after regaining consciousness.
Gavin Badger, who was on the field with him, said De Las Heras was “literally snoring”.
“As soon as it happened, I went straight to him,” Badger said. “He was knocked out straight away. It was a bit scary for us. He was snoring straightaway, literally snoring.”
De Las Heras appeared to have been uninjured after Simpson ran into the back of him, and Badger said he did not think there was any malice in Simpson’s actions.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” he said. “The players were really quiet afterwards. It was obviously something you don’t see every day. I think they were as stunned as we were.”
Souths coach Jason Taylor said it would be “ludicrous” if Simpson received a judiciary charge. “No way. Jamie was trying to get out of his way as much as he was trying to get out of Jamie’s,” he said. “Jamie was running, the referee was trying to get away from him and it was like they had a magnet. At first I was disappointed that that happened, purely because we were going to score a try. But in the end it was pretty serious and thankfully he is all right.”
Broncos coach Ivan Henjak also described the incident as “an unfortunate accident” and said Carroll hadn’t even seen the referee before he ran into him.
De Las Heras was taken to St Andrew’s Hospital after being treated by ambulance officers and Broncos medical staff.
“He doesn’t remember anything. He was obviously a pretty sick boy,” said video referee Tim Mander, who could hear “murmuring” through the referee’s audio link.
Mander said De Las Heras had a sizeable lump on the back of his head. “That’s the worst I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a referee knocked out cold like that.”
Taylor said he remembered an incident during his playing days in which a referee was knocked out after a ball kicked downfield hit him in the back of the head, while McCallum said former whistleblower John Gocher had suffered a similar fate after colliding with the knee of Les Boyd.
Oh my god this was hilarious! I saw it on fox sports news about 20 minutes ago De Las Heras was the same duffer who tripped over a manly player in their game against the eels a couple of months ago. But that pain doesn’t compare to this, the poor bugger probably had migranic headaches the whole night! ( once he woke up )
Ref says he’s still pretty crook after knockout
Adrian Proszenko | July 19, 2009
REFEREE Tony de las Heras says he remembers nothing of the sickening incident which left him motionless at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
South Sydney utility Jamie Simpson contacted de las Heras yesterday to check on his condition after accidentally colliding with him in his side’s 44-12 victory over Brisbane.
After being felled by Simpson, de las Heras copped an accidental knee to the head from Broncos forward Tonie Carroll, which knocked him unconscious and sent him to hospital.
“I don’t remember anything, fair dinkum,” de las Heras told The Sun-Herald yesterday. “I’m OK. I’m still a bit dazed and have got a couple of headaches. I’m still pretty crook. I’m just nowhere.”
The referee was released from hospital late on Friday night and flew back to Sydney yesterday. Referees’ boss Robert Finch confirmed that de las Heras would not officiate next weekend. “I’ll give him a week off,” Finch said.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor said it would be “ludicrous” if Simpson received a judiciary charge and both he and Carroll are expected to escape punishment.
Simpson, who suffered a grade one groin strain while hurdling over the top of de las Heras, described the collision as a “freak accident”.
“I was just speaking to Tony then and he said there was nothing I could do,” Simpson said.
"He said I was heading for a try if I went the other way but I ran into him. I thought I was in for a try - all I could see was the white line, which is why I couldn’t see him.
“I told him I was sorry, that I didn’t mean it and I wanted to just check up on how he is.”
Simpson said he was concerned about the welfare of de las Heras after the Carroll collision.
“Tonie Carroll didn’t miss him, he really connected,” Simpson said. “I was worried there for a while.”