Newcastle skipper Kurt Gidley has accused Sydney Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of deliberately targeting opponents with his elbows.
Gidley was incensed during the last-placed Knights’ 29-12 defeat to the Roosters on Saturday when the Kiwi prop caught David Fa’alogo across the neck when running with the ball and then doing the same to the throat of Jeremy Smith.
Knights lock Smith was forced off the field in the second half following the incident and Gidley said Waerea-Hargreaves needs to alter his style.
“As much as we are trying to protect players with lower leg injuries … getting hit in the throat is as bad as anything,” said Gidley.
“I personally think he runs with it raised and I know there’s a few blokes in my team who will back me up.
“The ref said he didn’t see it and when he does he’ll pull him up.”
The Knights are still upset about an incident involving Waerea-Hargreaves in last year’s preliminary final when Danny Buderus’ outstanding career ended with him being taken off on a stretcher after being knocked out by the arm of the prop.
Coach Wayne Bennett echoed the sentiments of his skipper and said the time has come for the NRL to take action.
“A good example is the Jeremy Smith one, if that’s acceptable in the game then the game has to change enormously,” Bennett said.
“We all saw it, the video ref saw it, and they all obviously said that was acceptable.
“Anyone who knows rugby league knows that is not acceptable so we’ll see what the future brings.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson leapt to the defence of Waerea-Hargreaves and said it was the responsibility of opponents to tackle him lower to stop him.
“His arm was north-south, he’s a tall guy and entitled to go high with the forearm it’s pretty clear,” Robinson said.
“I think it was the collarbone that Jeremy was complaining about but that was fine.”