Taane Milne should be shipped off to Super League after latest grubby act

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The NRL has its fair share of villains, with names like Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Matt Lodge and Gerard Sutton notorious for sending fans fluorescent with rage.

But after the events of Thursday night, we can safely add Taane Milne to this club of flagrant provocateurs.

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Milne’s despicable act in the closing stages of Souths’ traumatic 54-20 flogging to Melbourne was so putrid even Tommy Raudonikis would’ve been clutching his pearls.

And even despite the Match Review Panel slapping him with a wafery three-week suspension (two with the early guilty plea), it should still be the final nail in the winger’s dipsy NRL career.

Deep in to junk time and with nothing to gain but angry notifications, Milne launched in to the legs of a stationary Cameron Munster with a feral cannonball that almost left the five-eighth with marionette knees.

The winger was subsequently sin-binned, but he was fortunate not to be sent for an early shower (albeit with only nine seconds remaining) and six months of full-blown deradicalisation.

The tackle was best summed up by commentator Ben Te’o on Triple M as “one of the grubbiest plays of the season”, with even his coach Jason Demetriou slamming it as a “dumb play to end a dumb night.”

But for Milne, it should end more than just a dumb night- it should be the last play of an NRL career that sees him finish in notoriety, or just as cold, the English Super League.

A robust carrier of the ball, Milne has rebounded from his sacking from the Wests Tigers in 2018 to carve out a spot as a pinch-hitter for Souths on the wing and back-row.

However, his rebirth has been potholed with a series of brain snaps and butter-fingers that are less helpful than Hopoate-ish.

Milne’s most memorable performance was getting sin-binned twice in Souths stirring semi-final win over the Roosters in 2022, but that was only until it was usurped a fortnight later when he earned six weeks for clocking Spencer Leniu.

But in addition to being a loose-armed hothead who likes to puncture a coach’s trust as much as an opponent’s spleen, Milne has been a stomach ulcer for Souths fans when he’s actually on the paddock too.

He’s equal with Latrell Mitchell as one of the most penalised Rabbitohs in 2024, plus he makes more bad decisions in defence than Bruce Lehrmann.

It’s no rarity to see the Fijian international wafting on the wing like an aimless plastic bag, as evidenced by the abundance of fresh air Xavier Coates enjoyed down his side in the AAMI Park smash-up.

While you can’t accuse Milne of not giving all-out effort in a Rabbitohs season drenched in torpor, Demetriou needs his wingers attacking yardage, not ACL’s.

Regrettably for the 28 year old, unsocial players like him are becoming a knife-edge proposition for coaches in an era where you can be suspended for a nasty tone of voice.

Don’t get me wrong; we all love our footy edgy and undomesticated, with many of us yearning for the good old days when we waved away Terry Lamb’s high shot on Ellery Hanley as a good ankle-tap.

But it’s pretty easy to get yourself suspended these days, and blokes like Milne who earn all their running metres trotting off for an early shower are becoming too risky when you can be penalised for something as benign as handbags in the tunnel.

In a season for Demetriou of mass droppings – both on the team sheet and performance-wise – another raft of changes have been flagged following the Storm loss.

But even with the club’s injury crisis leaving his stocks down to bone marrow, you’d be mad to bet against the coach taking the safer option over Milne, like playing with 12 men.

– Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic yearning for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges were magic and the Mondays were mad. He’s never strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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