Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou has called for the NRL to “come down” hard on Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves after an ugly head slam on prop Tom Burgess.
In a fiery cross-town elimination final, the Tricolours prop could be seen dropping his forearm down on Burgess’ head which collided with the ground.
The 30-year-old English international stumbled after standing up to play the ball and referee Ashley Klein called time off as Burgess signalled he had copped an elbow.
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Upon review, Waerea-Hargreaves was given his marching orders and was one of a staggering seven players binned at Allianz Stadium on Sunday night.
Demetriou called out the “ordinary act” and condemned Waerea-Hargreaves for his lack of respect for opponents.
“We are talking about concussions as a serious part of our game, and we are talking about the referees and the game as a whole doing things to protect the players,” Demetriou said in the post-match press conference.
“But if a player wants to hold somebody who is defenceless and slam his head into the ground, when does the responsibility come back on the player?
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“It just think it is an ordinary act, and I think the game has to come down on it.
“You know what you are doing when you slam a bloke’s head into the ground, I just think as a player you have got to have some respect for the opposition.
“If you don’t, then who are you?”
Demetriou went on to explain the incident isn’t an isolated issue, calling for NRL players to take a “serious look” at how they treat player welfare.
The NRL has introduced a raft of new measures to reduce the impact of concussion, but “defenceless” players are still copping ugly knocks according to the Rabbitohs coach.
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“I think they are just two big men going at it, but it isn’t just the Roosters, it is across the board it happens,” Demetriou said.
“It is happening too often, we see it all the time and a head slam when a bloke is defenceless, and it happens accidentally sometimes, but the deliberate ones, we have to come down on them.
“I just think, we are getting three men in a tackle, we are locking the ball up, he is defenceless and we are slamming him down with 120kg of weight on the back of his head.
“Tom is a big man but everyone saw how badly he got out of that tackle, not just saying for Tom, but for all players to take a real serious look at how we look after each other.”
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