Warrington Wolves & Hull FC coaches in unison with controversial Fa’amanu Brown red card analysed

Ben Olawumi
Fa'amanu Brown trudges off following his red card against Warrington, Sam Burgess, Tony Smith

Unsurprisingly, neither Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess or Hull FC boss Tony Smith agreed with Fa'amanu Brown's first half red card this evening - Alamy

Both Sam Burgess and Tony Smith were left bemused by the dismissal of Hull FC ace Fa’amanu Brown during their defeat at Warrington Wolves with an officiating decision again the talk of the game.

Brown – one of FC’s NRL recruits – saw red from referee Marcus Griffiths towards the end of the first half following what appeared to most an accidental clash of heads in a tackle with Warrington’s Ben Currie.

The Wire stalwart was cut open in the clash of heads, and had to be taken off for a Head Injury Assessment, which he ultimately passed having been patched up.

Before he headed off the pitch at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for that 10-minute check-over, opponents Hull had been reduced to 12 permanently, with Brown giving his marching orders following a check from the video referee.

As in many of last weekend’s opening round games, it’s a decision which now dominates the talk post-match.

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Warrington Wolves & Hull FC coaches in unison with controversial Fa’amanu Brown red card analysed

Both head coaches gave their verdicts to Sky Sports shortly after the game’s conclusion, with Warrington 36-10 winners come the final hooter.

When Brown was dismissed, it was an even ball game with the scoreline at 6-6. The Wolves went in two to the good at the break after Josh Thewlis kicked the resulting penalty.

It’s now three red cards in two games for FC, who saw Franklin Pele and Ligi Sao sent off last Thursday night in the derby defeat to Hull KR on opening night.

And Black and Whites boss Smith, who tonight went up against the club he headed up for almost a decade, simply believes players need more time to adapt to the law changes that have been made.

Speaking to Jenna Brooks, he said: “I thought we were right in that game until some big decisions. When you’ve been around for a while like me and you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t.

“That’s what’s happening at the moment, some really strange things. It’s hard for the players to understand and cope with that at the moment as well.

Marcus Griffiths, Fa'amanu Brown red card
Referee Marcus Griffiths sends off Fa’amanu Brown in the first half of Hull FC’s Round 2 defeat at Warrington Wolves – Alamy

“We’re playing on pretty wet pitches and it’s hard for them to get their footing right, their timing right, and we’re making some pretty big decisions that are having effects on outcomes of games, no doubt.”

Asked what needs to change, the 57-year-old added: “We include everybody and we make sure we’re rational about how we implement it all. We give people time to train, time to change habits and styles that they’ve been using for 20 years.

“They don’t know anything else and then we’re asking them to do some other stuff, it’s a big call.

“We’ve been doing our best to do it over pre-season, but until it gets into the heat of the moment and we’re finding out that people aren’t able to make those adjustments – some of them aren’t anyway.

“It’s difficult, you only have to look at the pitches that we’re playing on. It’s hard to get that all right.

“Sometimes the outcomes of games are decided by some of these things, and sometimes it’s the outcomes of weeks ahead that are decided as well. I’m not sure that we’re getting it totally right with all that.”

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Sam Burgess: ‘I feel terrible coaching on the other side of that, and no doubt it’s going to happen to one of my players at some point’

Warrington also saw a card brandished their way late on in the contest, with veteran Sam Powell sin-binned by referee Griffiths for a high shot on FC full-back Jack Walker. He avoided red because Walker had been losing his footing heading into the tackle.

Wire boss Burgess had been interviewed prior to Smith, and made no secret that he too felt the dismissal of Brown wasn’t the right decision to those involved in the game, even if correct in the eyes of the law.

As he watched the incident that led to the red card back, the Wolves chief said: “We’re going to be talking about this every week if you ask me, and from Nu’s point of view, he can’t do anything about that.

“It’s innocuous, there’s nothing in it, but they’ve stuck to the letter of the law and it’s a red card. I feel terrible coaching on the other side of that, and no doubt it’s going to happen to one of my players at some point, but you can’t avoid that.

Fa'amanu Brown, Ben Currie
The head-on-head collision between Fa’amanu Brown & Ben Currie in a tackle towards the end of the first half which saw Brown dismissed – Alamy

“I think a common sense approach must come in at some point. It’s extremely hard. For us as coaches, you just try to stay in the guidelines that are there, but there has to be a common sense approach.

“That’s not an intentional headbutt, it’s a second collision. It’s above our heads, that’s the predicament we’re in. We’ve got to live and exist in that.

“We can complain all we like, but it’s not going to change. It’s just the world we’re in, and we’ve got to get on with it.”

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