SBW hit not a shoulder charge: Robinson

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson is confident Sonny Bill Williams will be cleared by the NRL match review committee on Monday following his shoulder charge to the head of Newcastle’s Willie Mason.


Williams was put on report after flooring Mason midway through the opening period of the Roosters’ 28-12 win over the Knights at Hunter Stadium and looks certain to be sanctioned.

Robinson felt otherwise.

“That arm is sort of separated from the side so it’s not a shoulder charge,” Robinson said.

“Obviously he hit him high so that is probably the worry. The arm has to be tucked into the side and there’s a separation between the arm and the body. That’s not a shoulder charge.”

Williams has already been charged with a grade one careless high tackle on Parramatta’s Matt Ryan in round 13 this season and had 56 carryover points from that offence.

If he’s hit with a similar grading he’ll spend some time on the sidelines unless he opts to fight the charge in front of the NRL judiciary on Wednesday.

Mason admits he was rattled by the shot before being forced off with a suspected torn calf muscle before halftime.

“I am not the sort of bloke, in my whole career of 13 or 14 years to stay down,” said Mason, who felt he’d been targeted by his former team.

“He hit me with a shoulder to the head if you look through my whole career it’s a pretty hard head to knock out.

“But we’ll see what happens. The judiciary can take care of that.

“His tackling technique in the mid 2000s that would be legal. But now it’s illegal and now it’s up to the judiciary.”

The victory consolidated the Roosters’ spot behind leaders South Sydney but Robinson said his side needed to massively improve their discipline after being slugged 14-9 in the penalty count.

However, he was delighted with how his side held on in the second half when the Knights were on top but failed to score a try before opting to kick a penalty in front of the posts.

“We were pretty happy, the boys were pretty excited about that,” he said.

“We knew they couldn’t break our defence so they opted for the two points. That was pretty good on our behalf.”

Tries from Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Michael Jennings, Sam Moa and Williams sealed the two points with Darius Boyd and James McManus crossing for the hosts.

Knights coach Wayne Bennett wasn’t too despondent by his side’s performance and said he saw enough to leave him confident of making the finals.

The veteran coach also defended his decision to take the two points midway through the second half when a try looked certain to come soon.

“I thought we were losing our way. I just thought someone should have went to the sin-bin, first and foremost, for repeated infringements,” he said.

“It was obviously deliberate and we looked like we were getting pretty frustrated.

“I thought the next thing we’ll do is lose a ball and give a penalty away, so let’s take the two and settle ourselves down.

“We then came back with some really good shape but we threw a forward pass when we looked like we were going to do something.”

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