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'Damian McKenzie isn't a dirty player, but...' - Chiefs star sent off in loss to Reds

By Ian Cameron
Brad Webber and Damian McKenzie

Chiefs star flyhalf Damian McKenzie was sent off for a high shot on Tate McDermott as his side fell to a defeat at the hands of the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby Trans Tasman.

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McKenzie connected with his opposite number after the Reds’ playmaker had put Isaac Henry through to score from 40 metres out in the first half.

The Reds went on to win the match 40 – 34 in Townville to record the first Australian win in this year’s Trans Tasman competition.

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It’s an out-of-character incident for McKenzie, who has been in remarkable form so far in 2021, throwing his hat firmly into contention for All Blacks contention at flyhalf.

Naturally, it didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter: “That’s a clear example for a red for McKenzie. That’s a really bad one,” wrote one account.

“Damien [sic] McKenzie isn’t a dirty player, but that was a red card by the letter of the law”

“Can’t argue with the red at all. But man what a blow for the game. I wanted the reds to win this against a full strength Chiefs with McKenzie,” wrote another.

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“I’ve about had it with pundits talking down clear red cards issued exactly by the laws of the game. Laws that were changed to protect the players and their futures, by the way!”

The facial expressions of Chiefs’ scrumhalf Brad Weber didn’t go unnoticed either, with the All Blacks nine clearly in shock when referee Nic Berry revealed his teammate was getting a red.

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