Knights star Jacob Saifiti is facing a long stint on the sidelines after he was sent off for what the NRL’s match review committee has deemed a “reckless” high shot on Jake Simpkin.
Saifiti was given his marching orders for the tackle in the 65th minute of Newcastle’s gutsy win over the Tigers.
If he accepts the charge and pleads guilty, Saifiti will be banned for five matches. If he and the club choose to fight the grade three reckless high tackle charge at the judiciary, he will be suspended for six weeks should the charge be upheld.
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Despite Saifiti’s indiscretion on top of head knocks that sidelined Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey, two of the club’s most important players, the Knights held on for one of their most courageous wins under coach Adam O’Brien.
The Saifiti incident occurred when Simpkin, from dummy-half, cut back on the inside and found the NSW Origin representative flat footed, the Knights prop clumsily sticking an arm out in his desperation to stop his more fleet footed opponent.
In commentary for Nine, Mat Thompson described the high shot as ”a shocker” and “most unsavoury”.
“Whatever could go wrong for the Knights has gone wrong, all day. Oh, dear oh dear. He was trying to cover two players at once – he’s just hung an arm out,” Gould said, in commentary alongside Thompson.
The hit was one of many spot fires that ignited in an ugly clash between the two side, which ended with security coming onto the field to break up a post-full-time altercation that started when Jackson Hastings attempted to apologise for a high shot that broke his former teammate Tommy Talau’s nose.
Hastings was charge by the match review committee for that moment of clumsiness that occurred as he attempted to strip the ball to stop Talau from scoring a try but the Knights halfback will not be suspended, instead copping an $1800 fine after it was deemed to be a grade one careless high tackle.
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That ruling will give O’Brien some cause for relief as he faces a shocking injury ward and a short turnaround to host the undefeated Dolphins in the 6pm (AEDT) game on Friday.
O’Brien has already conceded that Ponga will miss that game, with Brailey likely to join him on the sidelines alongside Saifiti to set up a monumental task to back up their first win of the season with a victory over the competition’s newcomers.
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