Players, coaches weigh in on JWH’s ‘sickening hit’

Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner has backed enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to escape punishment for a controversial tackle in Thursday Night Football, saying: "I don't think he should have anything to worry about".

Only a week out from the NRL playoffs, Waerea-Hargreaves is on report for what commentators described as a "sickening hit" on South Sydney rival Liam Knight.

The incident, which occurred with six minutes remaining at ANZ Stadium, saw JWH appear to collect Knight in the head with his shoulder as the Bunnies No.10 was already being felled in a tackle.

The Rabbitohs forward was taken from the field after the incident, having also suffered a serious head cut.

 

 

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is on report for his hit on Liam Knight. Picture: Getty Images
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is on report for his hit on Liam Knight. Picture: Getty Images

 

 

Fox Sports analyst Matthew Johns described the tackle as a "sickening hit", while fellow panellist Gorden Tallis suggested the Roosters prop would have a case to answer "because he's … got him in the head and the guy's had to leave the field".

Yet Cordner insists his star bookend had no option but to stand his ground, and brace, as the Souths No.10 fell towards his knees.

The NSW Origin star added that Knight also likely cut his head in a clash with Roosters interchange forward Lindsay Collins, not the contact from JWH.

Asked if he was worried about what may now come of the tackle, Cordner said: "I don't think (the tackle) is too worrying.

"The worrying thing was Liam Knight being injured. That's where my worry was.

"He went off the field and I'm hoping he is OK.

"But looking back on it, I think he (Knight) split his head on Lindsay's head maybe."

 

Rabbitohs prop Liam Knight was forced from the field. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Rabbitohs prop Liam Knight was forced from the field. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

And the tackle itself?

"There was no swinging arm from Jared," Cordner continued.

"There was no shoulder charge.

"He didn't brace for a shoulder charge, there was separation there.

"So although it's not nice, I don't see it being a big issue.

"I saw it on the big screen straight away and said there is no swinging arm, (Knight) fell into him. And Jared needs to brace there anyway because (Knight) is coming at his knees.

"So he needs to stand his ground, have his body in front of him.

"It's just unfortunate that they made contact and Liam Knight was in the state he was.

"But, honestly, I don't think Jared should have anything to worry about moving forward."

 

 

Asked about the tackle Roosters coach Trent Robinson added: "I don't know what Jaz could've done.

"He couldn't take his arm off. It wasn't clenched and it wasn't there.

"But they are penalties. You can't hit the head, I understand that.

"It's a penalty without a doubt and I understand why he's on report. They need to say someone else look at it. It's one of those things that happen in a footy game. It happened a lot in the second half."

 

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves embraces Liam Knight after the match. Picture: Getty Images
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves embraces Liam Knight after the match. Picture: Getty Images

 

South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett was less convinced.

"Something knocked him (Knight) out and something has left him with a pretty good gash over his eye," Bennett said.

"What was involved I'm not totally sure. I wasn't looking too hard at the time as it wasn't something I could control."

Undoubtedly, Waerea-Hargreaves is an integral part of a Roosters side chasing back-to-back premierships.

"He's one of our leaders," Cordner agreed.

"An experienced front-rower, tough, he gets our sets started.

"He is a massive part of this team."

 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is tackled during the round 25 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on September 05, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is tackled during the round 25 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on September 05, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

 

While the Roosters were beaten by South Sydney 16-10, several key players are expected back for week one of the finals including star No.6 Luke Keary, prop Siosiua Taukeiaho, utility Mitch Aubusson and winger Brett Morris.

English import Ryan Hall (knee) is also a chance along with hooker Jake Friend (broken forearm).

"We needed to be more steely," Cordner said of the match itself.

 

 

"Although we had second spot wrapped up, we wanted to win and play some good footy.

"And in the first half, we did.

"But I thought the second half was stop-start. No side really gained momentum.

"Then there was just a lapse in concentration by us for about five, 10 minutes. A few crucial errors that led to tries.

"But we take out our lessons and narrow our focus.

"It's not all doom and gloom.

"This team has been playing some really good footy over the past month and even again tonight, we'll take our lessons and move on."

 

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