Storm and Dragons at odds over alleged 'groin punch'

Steve Zemek

St George Illawarra's Jeremy Latimore has denied he intentionally punched Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith in the groin.

It was more than just Smith's ego that was bruised following the Dragons' 34-14 win over the Storm on Sunday after copping what appeared to be a shot to his crotch.

Just after half-time, the Queensland and Australian captain collapsed onto the Jubilee Oval turf clutching himself after it appeared he was struck by Latimore.

To have salt rubbed into a very painful wound, opposite No.9 Cameron McInnes scooted over the line where Smith would have been defending.

Smith implied Latimore had intentionally struck him and the alleged act of foul play cost his side a try.

However the Dragons prop defended himself and his reputation.

"I think I was fighting in the play-the-ball," Latimore said

"I knew something happened when he was on the deck.

"You're trying to play the ball as quick as you can, I saw Cam on the ground and I did try to apologise at the scrum but he was in a fair bit of pain."

Smith recoiled and was visibly struggling. Image: Fox Sports/Getty

While Smith was clearly fuming at the incident, Latimore said there was no malice in it.

"You can look at my history, it's not in my nature," Latimore said.

"At the time I was trying to get a quick play-the-ball and Cam tries to slow the play-the-ball down a fair bit.

"I was just trying to get a quick play-the-ball for Cameron McInnes. There was a man down so he jumped over."

Latimore dismissed the incident as nothing more than an accident, the likes of which happen on a rugby league field dozens of times in a game.

However Smith said there was no way for him to be hit in that area accidentally.

"Well I thought I was in a position in the tackle where I can't really get caught up in any stray elbows and knee," Smith said.

"Put it that way."

The NRL match review committee agreed with Latimore, opting against charging him over the incident.