May’s season ended by ACL rupture as NRL explains why tackle wasn’t charged

Panthers premiership-winner Taylan May will miss the entire 2023 season after suffering a ruptured ACL in Penrith’s World Club Challenge loss to St Helens.

May was injured in Saturday’s 13-12 defeat to the four-time Super League champions, but Penrith had been reasonably confident the Samoan international would be fit to return once he had served a delayed NRL suspension at the start of the season.

Scans on Monday instead revealed that May requires a knee reconstruction, ruling him out for the entire season.

May was injured in a first-half tackle by former Warriors and Titans forward Agnatius Paasi, who was third man in to bring May to ground after St Helens’ teammates Konrad Hurrell and Morgan Knowles had held him up.

Paasi was not charged by the match review committee nor penalised when May stayed down as Hurrell called for medical attention.

NRL match review co-ordinator Luke Patten confirmed that the tackle was reviewed, but MRC “members all agreed that the actions of Paasi were not careless and did not warrant a charge”.

“Firstly, the initial point of contact by Paasi was high on May’s hip/upper thigh,” Patten said in a statement to the Herald.

“For a tackle to be considered dangerous and spearing at the legs, the Match Review Committee must see forceful contact at or around the knee of the attacking player.

“Paasi also drops to his knees at the point of contact, which we encourage players to do, and did not drop his body weight onto the back of May’s lower legs. This is one of the key indicators that we would look for in a hip drop tackle.”

May’s sidelining sees Penrith without another of their 2022 title-winners after Api Koroisau and Charlie Staines (Wests Tigers) and Viliame Kikau (Canterbury) all exited at the end of last season.

Taylan May enjoyed a stellar World Cup campaign as Samoa powered to the final.Credit:Getty

May, 21, proved one of 2022’s best finds and a contender for rookie of the year as he scored 16 tries on the Panthers left flank.

His injury and Staines’ departure brings Fijian flyer Sunia Turuva into the reckoning for a lengthy first-grade stay after he knocked back a three-year offer to join Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins.

May was already slated to miss the first two weeks of Penrith’s season due to a two-game ban stemming from a Sunshine Coast incident following the club’s 2021 premiership win.

May’s suspension was controversially delayed by the NRL so he could play in last year’s finals and Samoa’s World Cup tilt, where he scored six tries.

News of his season-ending injury comes as Bulldogs big man Tevita Pangai junior prepares to miss at least the first month of the season due to a calf tendon strain suffered at training.

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