Pat Politoni. Picture: AAP Image
Pat Politoni. Picture: AAP Image

‘He just snapped’: Hooker’s sickening punch

BURLEIGH boss Damian Driscoll has defended Pat Politoni's character after the hooker was sent off for a sickening punch that knocked out a Townsville rival in a 16-10 Bears loss on Sunday.

Just before halftime of the Round 3 Intrust Super Cup match, Townsville received a penalty and took the quick tap, which Politoni blocked.

The 28-year-old was immediately sent to the sin bin for a professional foul - and for good measure Blackhawks halfback Michael Parker-Walshe gave him a shove to the back of the head.

Politoni snapped, turning and throwing a punch that connected with Parker-Walshe's head, sparking an all-in brawl.

Townsville duo Tom Opacic and Kieran Quabba were sent to the sin bin while Politoni was given his marching orders for the rest of the game. Parker-Walshe left the field for a head injury assessment and did not return.

Michael Parker-Walshe (right) tackles Jesse Arthars. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Michael Parker-Walshe (right) tackles Jesse Arthars. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Politoni is facing a serious suspension; it comes a week after Sami Sauiluma, Sam Coster and Jacob Hind were banned for separate incidents in the club's 32-4 win over Tweed.

Driscoll said it was an out of character act for the former Titan.

"Pat Politoni has never been sent off in his life or suspended. He's not a dirty player," he said.

"I've seen enough players that are remorseful. He wasn't in tears but he was certainly very devastated.

"He just snapped. It was certainly unlike him."

Bears fullback Kurtis Rowe added: "He is still apologetic now and he knows he has done wrong."

The incident capped a shocking first 40 minutes for Burleigh as they slumped to a 16-0 deficit. They proved far better after the break despite being a man down, with Api Noema and Kurtis Rowe among those helping in the dummy-half role.

Burleigh hit back with tries to Jesse Arthars and Troy Leo and went ever so close to drawing level in the dying moments.

"Joshy (Berkers) got over the line but he just couldn't get the ball on the ground," Rowe said.

"We were just trying everything to get across but hats off to Townsville, they defended well."

On Saturday night, two early tries to promoted centre Kody Parsons set the tone for Tweed to defeat Central Queensland 26-12 at Browne Park.

Seagulls skipper Cheyne Whitelaw won players' player in his first game back from a long ACL injury lay-off.



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