Typically, any player who stumbles or struggles to regather their feet as a result of a head knock is taken from the field for a head injury assessment, even if they pass initial onfield testing.
Hodgson staying on the field drastically changed the state of the game. He was arguably Canberra’s best player through the first 40 minutes of the match.
He certainly had three of the most – if not the most – influential plays of the match after he was allowed to stay on the field.
In the minutes after the knock he stripped Ethan Lowe of the football and from the following set, he placed a perfectly weighted grubber in behind the Rabbitohs’ line.
He then applied pressure which forced Corey Allan into a knock on before Jarrod Croker duly pounced on the loose ball to draw first blood for Canberra.
At the other end of the field he then stripped Cody Walker in a remarkable one-on-one tackle when he was the last man between the Rabbitohs playmaker and Souths’ first four points of the night.
All head knocks are reviewed by the NRL post match and a League Central official confirmed the Hodgson incident would be no different, putting Canberra under the microscope.
The way Souths handled head knocks through their last few starts was a stark contrast and a constant reminder of proper protocol given the two teams kept trading blows in search of a grand final berth after Hodgson was allowed to play on.
Adam Doueihi, Alex Johnston and Sam Burgess were all taken from the field in the heat of Souths’ elimination final clash with Manly last weekend.
A fortnight earlier Wayne Bennett’s men were forced to finish their loss to the Roosters with just 12 men on the field due to injury and head injury assessments.
After being subject to a HIA last week when he clashed heads with Johnston, Doueihi was also taken from the field with 30 minutes to play in the Raiders’ win after a brutal high tackle from Josh Papalii.
The star Raiders prop, who was one of Canberra’s best and scored the match winning try, was placed on report for the high shot.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.