However the situation escalated into a farce after Alibert spoke directly to O’Donnell, and supposedly put the Huddersfield back rower on report. While Kirke was still being treated, Anderson brought off O’Donnell and replaced him with Larne Patrick.
But five minutes later as Kirke was being taken off the field and sent directly to hospital, Alibert consulted with his touch judge and demanded O’Donnell be brought back onto the field and the previous interchange be reversed. He then showed O’Donnell the red card.
Anderson was visibly unhappy with how Alibert, and touch judge Gareth Jones, handled the situation.
He said: “I had been told he was initially put on report, for what seems a legitimate tackle. We have the footage and believe it was a clash of heads. I believe he (O’Donnell) was sent off for a deliberate forearm.
“Once they (The RFL) see it on Monday I think you’ll find it is a clash of heads. The bloke is getting off his line, there’s been a bit of footwork from the player, and then there is a clash of heads. Where the forearm has come from I’ll never know.”
Anderson also questioned the legality of whether the referee was allowed to bring O’Donnell back onto the field, and said the match officials dismissed his player for an incident they “think” has happened.
Anderson said: “Can you send people off because they think this has happened, five or six minutes after it happened?
“I appreciate Kirke was hurt, and I hope he is playing again as soon as possible. But my take on it is that O’Donnell was initially put on report, we changed him because we were going to do that anyway, then we had to put him back out there for him to be omitted from the field.
“I have my own opinions on that, but I like my money in my own pocket and not with the RFL.”
The RFL’s match review committee will look at the incident tomorrow, before O’Donnell is put in front of the disciplinary committee.