Melbourne Storm wing Suliasi Vunivalu attempts to leap defenders, put on report
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy admits he can't describe what Suliasi Vunivalu was trying to do or what he actually did when he attempted to leap over two Sydney Roosters tacklers on Saturday night.
The Fijian wing made an incredible save to catch a rolling ball between his legs just before the hour mark, but as he went to run the ball back, he incredibly leapt in the air as the tacklers Mitch Aubusson and Aidan Guerra approached, crashing into the pair.
He was immediately whistled for a penalty and placed on the report - in the NFL, attacking players can attempt to hurdle or jump over defenders but in the NRL this is not allowed due to the possibility of kicking or kneeing someone.
The NRL match review committee will have a difficult time defining Vunivalu's play as it was so out of place but, luckily for both teams, he didn't appear to injure either player but his knees did hit Aubusson's stomach area.
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Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted he had no idea what his Fijian star was attempting.
"I think I have seen a couple of things like that closer to the try line but I'm not sure what Suli was trying to do there," Bellamy said.
"You could probably ask Suli and he might think it was as brain fade or brain snap.
"It was a pretty big play in the game, they scored at the end of that penalty. Hopefully he learns a lesson and doesn't do it again."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he struggled to define what he saw but didn't want to see it again.
"How do you comment on that? [I] haven't seen it in the game before, it's not for me to comment on, it's for you guys to write about," Robinson said after the Storm's 16-13 win.
"What do you say? It was something you shouldn't see in rugby league."
Bellamy noted officials may struggle to find a charge for the play when they review it on Sunday.
"It's not my job but I don't know what the charge is and I'm not sure if he hit anyone," Bellamy said.
"I'm not quite sure what the charge is. I agree it's a penalty. No doubt. But I'm not sure what they charge him with, if he is charged then we will look at it then.
"I don't think he has done any damage. I think they will be scratching their heads at home wondering what it was."
Vunivalu is second leading try scorer in the NRL with 17 tries this season and the Storm, who are three games clear in first place, have three games left until the finals.
The Storm play the Newcastle Knights at Newcastle next Saturday.
- The Age