IT has taken fourweeks, but the Newcastle Knights have finally copped it on the chin –just as fullback Brendan Elliot did in their round-three loss to South Sydney.
Elliot was crunched in a grade-two reckless high tackle on March 18, which earnedSouths centre Hymel Hunt a four-game suspension.
The incident was also costly for the Knights, who incurred a $100,000 breach notice for not removing Elliot from the field for a head-injury assessment. Newcastle lodged a submission, arguing they should not be fined, and the NRL reduced the sanction last week to a $50,000 penalty, with $50,000 suspended for 12 months.
The Knights indicated they would appeal against the fine but the club announced on Thursday it had abandoned any further legal action.
“As a club, we absolutely support the NRL in strengthening the rules and improving the management of head injuries suffered by players,” Knights chief executiveMatt Gidley said.
In a statement, the Knights said they “thoroughly investigated the matter and sought independent evaluation by a leading concussion specialist” and were “extremely disappointed in the process that the NRL has undertaken”.
“We adamantly support our medical staff and the integrity they demonstrate in the management of our players … we will write to the NRL and express our disappointment,” Gidley said.
Meanwhile, Knights forward Daniel Saifiti is confident his teammates can provide more resistance against the Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night than they did last season.
The Roosters overpowered Newcastle 38-0 in round nine last year –their third successive defeat in what would ultimately become a club-record 19-game losing streak.
“All I remember is that they were big,’’ Saifiti said.
“They were probably the first big team that I played last year, and probably the first game that I thought this is what the big league is like.
“Just big forwards andmobile. That’s the main thing I remember.’’
Saifiti said Newcastle have “come such a long way” in the past year and he was confident they could notch their second win of the season.
Knights skipper Trent Hodkinson said it was important for Newcastle to end a run of narrow losses.
“I don’t think we’re too far away,’’ he said. “The confidence is growing each week.”
* A man-of-the-match performance on his Super League debut by former Knight JakeMamowas not enough to prevent Huddersfield crashing to a 29-22 home defeat by Catalans Dragons. The 22-year-old, who arrived in England with a broken ankle, scored a try and produced a series of dashing runs.
FLASHBACK: Knights fullback Brendan Elliot stays down for treatment during the loss to South Sydney on March 18. Picture: Getty Images