WELLINGTON defender Marco Rossi has escaped without so much as a yellow card for an incident against Newcastle Jets on Saturday that was labelled a “squirrel grip” by TV commentators.
In the 50th minute of Wellington’s 3-2 win at McDonald Jones Stadium, Rossi tangled with Jets winger Jason Hoffman.
Hoffman fell to the turf, clutching between his legs, before bouncing to his feet to remonstrate with the Italian import and complain to referee Jarred Gillett.
Foxtel showed two replays of the contentious challenge, which commentator Andy Harper labelled “a squirrel grip” and “ungentlemanly conduct”.
Because the incident was observed by the Video Assistant Referee, who liaised at the time with Gillett, it falls outside the jurisdiction of the match-review panel.
Hence Rossi will avoid any disciplinary action and be available to tackle Adelaide in Wellington on Saturday.
Hoffman declined to comment about the incident on Monday.
Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick initially dismissed it with a light-hearted quip and then confirmed Jets officials had no intention of lodging a formal complaint.
“Our view is that, unless it’s a really dangerous tackle, what happens on the field, stays on the field,” Merrick said. “Jason’s not worried about it. We just move on.”
Meanwhile, new recruit Riley McGree will train with Newcastle for the first time on Tuesday in preparation for Thursday’s important clash with Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
Merrick indicated the Club Brugges loan signing was likely to start off the bench against City.
“I’ve had a look at a lot of his videos,” Merrick said. “I watched him play for the Australian under-23s. He’s my type of player.
“He can play as No.6, defensive midfielder, or No.8. He’s capable of going box-to-box. He’s exactly what we need … but he’ll have to earn his spot.”