NRL news, Luke Thompson in hot water over alleged eye-gouge on James Tamou


By George Vlotis and Chris De Silva

Star Bulldogs import Luke Thompson may set for a stint on the sidelines in 2021 after he was placed on report for an apparent eye-gouge on Panthers skipper James Tamou.

Fans were left confused when referee Henry Perenara called a stop to the game midway through the first half and spoke with Tamou and Thompson, as the Panthers veteran confirmed he wished to lodge a formal complaint for an eye-gouge.

Upon review it was clear what Tamou was upset about – Thompson’s right arm could be seen wrapping the skipper’s head with his fingers clearly digging into his eyes.

“That’s as clear-cut an eye-gouge as I’ve seen,” Ben Ikin said on commentary for Fox League. “That’s fingers in eyes.”

However speaking at half-time, Tamou seemed eager to play down the incident in the final round of the regular season.

“I was hoping to get the penalty, but I just felt something there and my eyes were closed,” he said.

“I don’t think there was much in it, but I think it’s pretty emotional being the last game of the year.”

League greats Cooper Cronk and Mal Meninga were less than convinced, as Cronk insisted the vision was “damning” for Thompson.

Thompson in hot water of possible eye-gouge

“Tamou said in the interview that he felt it there and that he was playing for the foul and downplaying it, but that’s just the players’ code to not dob in your mate or your opponent,” Cronk told Fox League.

“The evidence is damning. My thoughts are he’s in trouble.”

Meninga added: “Yeah, he’s gone,”

“It’s on TV and it just shows that he’s got his fingers in James Tamou’s eye.

“I don’t know if it’s a ‘gouging’ incident, he obviously had his finger in his eye but I don’t know if he dug in.”