Cunningham slams Manuokafoa tackle

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham has branded the tackle on Matty Smith by Manase Manuokafoa that resulted in injuring the halfback as “disgusting”.

Saints are still waiting for the complete picture of Smith’s leg injury but the scrum-half won’t be available in the immediate future.

Smith was injured early in the friendly against Widnes.

“It was a disgusting tackle,” Cunningham said.

“It is one we have been trying to outlaw for three years and in the past we have lost two people with broken legs and three with syndesmosis with that type of tackle.

“Like everything else we are reactive, never proactive, and now we will probably do something about it.

“We have cited the player (Manase Manuokafoa). It is horrendous. Matty hasn’t got the ball, it has left his hands and the tackle coincides with the next tackle which is when Morgan Knowles is tackled.

“He grabs hold of Matty’s shoulders and drops his legs. You can see his boots; his legs are that far off the ground and he drops 120kg on Matty’s ankles.

“It is harder to do that tackle than push Matty off the ball. Whether there is malice I don’t know but he has gone out to hurt my halfback, he has done it and done it royally.

“Hopefully the League will stand up to it and do something about it.

Smith is set for more scans to determine how long he will be out.

“Last night the initial results weren’t good,” Cunningham said.

“So we have had to get him across to the specialist today. He is going to be out for a period but we aren’t 100% sure of how long that period will be.

“It is a leg injury and not a good leg injury. We will confirm the length of time and the nature of the injury when we know every aspect of it, because we don’t want to pre-empt things too much.

“It isn’t good for the immediate future, but it isn’t season ending.”

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