A ropeable Jason Demetriou called out an ugly move by Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves following South Sydney’s gripping 30-14 triumph in Sunday’s elimination final.
In a clash that featured a record seven sin-bins, Waerea-Hargeaves was given his marching orders in the 51st minute after it was deemed he’d slammed Tom Burgess’ head into the turf as the Rabbitohs prop was tackled by him and two other Roosters defenders.
Storm giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona is the face of the controversial act, having employed it on a series of occasions and having even broken Wayde Egan’s teeth in the process in round 20.
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South Sydney coach Demetriou condemned Waerea-Hargreaves and the act after the drama-charged Sydney Football Stadium clash, in which the Rabbitohs booked themselves in for a semi-final against the Sharks.
“We’re talking about concussions as a serious part of our game, and we’re talking about the referees and the game as a whole doing things to make sure that we’re protecting the players,” Demetriou said in his press conference.
“But if a player wants to hold a player who’s defenceless and slam his head in the ground … (when does) the responsibility come back on the payer? I just think it’s an ordinary act and I think the game has to come down on it.
“They know what they’re doing, you know what you’re doing when you’re slamming a bloke’s head in the ground.
“I just think as a player you’ve got to have some respect for the opposition. If you don’t then who are you?”
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Demetriou added that other clubs were also guilty of performing the nasty move and said it was “happening too often”.
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“We see it all the time,” said the South Sydney mentor.
“The head slam when the bloke’s defenceless … it happens accidentally sometimes, but the deliberate ones — we’ve got to come down on them.
“We’re getting three men in a tackle, we’re locking the ball up, he’s defenceless and we’re slamming him down with a 100-120 kilos of weight in the back of the head.
“Tom’s a big man, but everyone saw how bad he got out of that tackle.
“I’m not just saying it for Tom, but for all players. All players (need to) take a really serious look at how we look after each other.”
Burgess stumbled as he got off the ground after the tackle, before being substituted off for the remaining 29 minutes of the match.
Burgess was also a perpetrator of foul play in the sudden-death game, with the South Sydney veteran penalised for high contact on three occasions.
The second high shot resulted in Burgess being sent to the sin bin in the 19th minute.
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