NEW Manly coach Trent Barrett's pre-season curse could continue with prized forward recruit Martin Taupau under scrutiny for a dubious first-half tackle during his World All Stars' 12-8 win over the Indigenous All Stars.
Taupau's fourth-minute takedown of Dane Gagai has set the NRL's Match Review Panel an early test case, with Gagai lifted above the horizontal and tipped awkwardly in the tackle.
Barrett was already ruing the loss of utility forward Jamie Buhrer (broken jaw) and back-up hooker Jayden Hodges (ACL) from the Auckland Nines.
Taupau may not be the only player to come to the attention of the match review committee.
World All Stars teammate Jordan Kahu's try-saving tackle on Canberra's Jack Wighton is also likely to be looked at closely.
Wighton, who lost the ball over the try line in Kahu's desperate front-on hit, left the field with concussion.
Both Kahu and Taupau could miss their respective clubs' opening NRL matches if charged, although both have clean judiciary sheets.
Titans veteran Greg Bird finished the clash with several stitches to a cheek cut after a heavy collision with young Roosters forward Kane Evans.
One of the talking points from the game was the 35-second scrum clock.
Wayne Bennett (World All Stars) and Laurie Daley (Indigenous All Stars), and their respective captains Cameron Smith (World All Stars) and Greg Inglis (Indigenous All Stars), all admitted the concept needed to be closely looked at before being introduced to the NRL.
At one point players were ready to pack a scrum 20 seconds before the clock expired, using the extra time to take a "breather", which is not the intent of the rule. "It was a bit weird at times," Daley conceded.
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