Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been placed on report for an “unacceptable” elbow on Manly debutant Zac Fulton.
The 33-year-old carried the ball up, being met by the grandson of Sea Eagles legend Bob Fulton.
Welcoming the 20-year-old to first grade, Waerea-Hargreaves dug his elbow into the chin of the young backrower, pinning him to the ground with his head cocked sideways.
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Referee Grant Atkins blew his whistle, with both Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and skipper James Tedesco confused by the penalty.
Tedesco questioned if he could challenge the decision, and Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans chimed in with a hilarious reply.
“Can I challenge?” Tedesco said.
“Don’t waste your time honestly, elbow to the head,” Cherry-Evans said.
Atkins went on to explain why he blew the penalty against the attacking team, stating to Tedesco his prop’s actions were “unacceptable”.
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“Regardless if he thinks he is all over him, Jared can’t do what he did, that is unacceptable, that is why it is against you,” Atkins said.
Fox League’s Andrew Voss acknowledged the dirty tactics employed by the Tricolours enforcer — but explained throughout rugby league history, debutants have been given baptisms of fire.
“That elbow, forearm with force into the face… ill disciplined, but I will quantify this, those who have watched for a long time, that went on all the time when a bloke made his debut,” Voss said.
“The young kid had to earn his stripes, I know it is a different time, but there would be some dipping their lid to that.
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“But you give away a penalty in 2022, we have moved on.
“Fulton didn’t complain, it was his badge of honor.”
Rugby league legend Nathan Hindmarsh also admitted the elbow wasn’t necessary but conceded all debutants “copped it”.
“I was loving it, probably not necessary, but welcome to first grade, I don’t think it bothered Fulton too much,” Hindmarsh said on the Matty Johns show.
“He is going well I am in first grade now, I am going to cop a little bit of this having the surname he does as well.
“But I didn’t mind it, I think it is a bit of initiation, we call copped it here and there.”