Players, fans and commentators have been rocked by terrifying scenes which stopped play for more than five minutes.
Terrifying scenes have floored fans and commentators in the Cronulla Sharks’ 18-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs at Commbank Stadium after debutant Declan Casey was left knocked.
In horrendous conditions, the Sharks had just scored its second try to retake the lead when the terrifying scenes took place.
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The Bulldogs kick off was returned by the Sharks’ Andrew Fifita, who turned back the clock with a barnstorming run.
The 22-year-old debutant was chasing hard and doing everything he was meant to but copped the full brunt of the run and was knocked out before he hit the ground in terrifying scenes.
Sharks players were the first to the youngster as the game was quickly stopped and medical attention was brought onto the field.
Steve Roach said it was “the way you run the ball back from a kick after you’ve scored a try”.
But there was clear concern for Casey on the turf.
“He’s a hard man to tackle, Andrew Fifita,” Roach said on Fox Sports.
“There was no lack of courage from the young fella — I know he’s made a few mistakes in this game — but you put yourself out there facing a man charging like that in Fifita, an experienced player, he’s been around for an age. He knows how to use his body properly.
“You feel for the young fella. What a courageous effort.”
There was no hint of illegality but the medicab was called for immediately.
The match as stopped for around five minutes as he was taken from the field in the terrifying scenes.
Code Sports’ Lachlan McKirdy tweeted: “Great concern showed for Declan Casey after falling awkwardly on the back of an attempted tackle on Andrew Fifita.
“Shoutout to Fifita who was near the debutant the whole time and reached out to check on him after he was on the medicab.”
SBS’ Rayane Tamer wrote: “Bulldogs debutant Declan Casey, knocked unconscious after facing the wrath in an attempted tackle of Andrew Fifita. His debut horribly cut short transferred off the field on a stretcher.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Wilson Smith added: “Ah man Casey that’s so rough, worst luck on debut”.
ABC Sport called the scene “simply terrifying” and “frightening stuff”.
The Sharks and Bulldogs social media teams also shared support for the youngster.
About 10 minutes later, Fox Sports’ sideline reporter Lara Pitt said Casey was able to get off the medicab of his own volition.
“Pleased to report I’ve just seen debutant Declan Casey get up off the medicab in the tunnel and walk around to the sheds with his family closely behind him,” she said.
“The Bulldogs medical staff taking great care after that nasty head knock but the news is that he is up and about.”
It was a debut to forget all around for Casey after the heavens dumped down at Commbank Stadium.
There was so much water on the surface that the lights were reflecting off the surface of large puddles all over the playing surface.
But while the Bulldogs were spirited in defence to turn the Sharks away time and time again, Cronulla did enough to take the two points.