Titans back Heighington to escape charge
April 17, 2011
RIVAL coaches Tim Sheens and John Cartwright say they would be surprised if Wests Tigers forward Chris Heighington is forced to defend a striking charge before the NRL judiciary.
Heighington appeared to be on a mission to take out Titans dangermen Scott Prince and Greg Bird on Friday night, with Bird requiring stitches and finishing with a swollen lip. Heighington flew close to the wind several times during the Gold Coast’s 20-14 win at Skilled Park.
Heighington was put on report for a high tackle on Bird in the 36th minute and later wiped out Prince, the man of the match, after he attempted a field goal to break a 14-14 deadlock before forward Mark Minichiello crossed for the winning try.
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While Heighington appeared to collect Bird in the face, Titans coach Cartwright was prepared to send a message to the judiciary on his behalf. ‘‘I don’t mind that,’’ was Cartwright’s initial reaction. ''I hate to see anyone [suspended] … we lost Greg Bird for a week for nothing.
‘‘We’ve got to accept it’s a game of inches and every now and then they [players] get it wrong.’’
Sheens was confident he would have Heighington’s aggressive game on Friday against Brisbane. ‘‘He [Bird] was falling in the tackle,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘It’s a penalty, that’s all it should be.’’
Prince said an early error with a flick pass, which turned over possession and led to the Tigers’ first try, had spurred him to redeem himself, which he did with the crucial 73rd-minute try.
‘‘I don’t know what was going on there, I thought I was in the backyard playing with my kids,’’ said Prince, able to laugh off his mistake. ‘‘I could just hear Carty [Cartwright] blowing up. I felt I’d let the team down and I guess evened it up towards the end.’’
Tigers captain Robbie Farah, who shared a premiership with Prince in 2005, was in no mood to compliment his former teammate. ‘‘It doesn’t matter who it is,’’ Farah said. ‘‘I don’t care if he’s a former teammate. We spoke about not taking dummies off him [Prince] all week and we did. Good luck to him.’’
Prince had to bounce back from a couple of dubious tackles after kicking on the last tackle but he accepted the tactic. ‘‘That’s the way Tim coaches,’’ he said. ‘‘When a half goes to the line, you take him out and certainly with my kicking game, they didn’t miss me.’’