League fans have condemned James Tamou after cameras caught the Penrith forward dropping a knee into the face of the returning Dylan Walker.
The Panthers were upset by strugglers Manly 18-10 on a day of injuries in Penrith.
And it appears Tamou targeted Walker, the Sea Eagles niggler who was in his first game back from a facial injury.
The forward dropped his right knee into Walker’s head as he took a tackle in the first half.
Neither referee spotted the incident as play continued without any punishment.
“I think it’s a low act from Tamou. I just don’t think that’s needed,” Brett Finch said in Fox League commentary.
Given the clear footage, it is highly likely the NRL match review committee will sanction Tamou.
Fans were quick to condemn the Panthers player:
Tamou should be out for the season. Dog act. Knee to a man on the ground. Grub. #NRLPanthersManly
— Tony Willson (@galzig121) June 30, 2018
What about Tamou’s knee to Walkers face? Wasn’t even a penalty #NRLPanthersManly
— Steven (@StratosH9) June 30, 2018
Tamou’s knee to the face of Walker will get him suspended! #NRLPanthersManly
— Mav (@ozspurs23) June 30, 2018
Tamou is going to get suspended for that
— its chapo bay bay (@TheBrokenChapo) June 30, 2018
Tamou just hammerd walker with his knee on the ground,how was it missed
— adam bettridge (@bettridge_adam) June 30, 2018
Tamou’s potential suspension will make a bad day worse for Penrith after Nathan Cleary was sent to the sin bin late in the game.
With scores locked at 10-10 with 15 minutes to play, Cleary was ruled by the NRL’s bunker to have held Daly Cherry-Evans off the ball as he chased his own grubber kick close to the line.
The NSW halfback was sent to the bin for the professional foul, Trent Hodkinson then slotting over the penalty goal for Manly to take a 12-10 lead at Panthers Stadium.
Manly then took full advantage five minutes later when Jake Trbojevic spun and provided an offload for Hodkinson to buck Manly’s four-game losing streak and put space between them and the bottom of the ladder.
The day didn’t end well for Walker, either, after he was carried off with a knee injury early in the second half.
Walker will go for scans on Monday, but Sea Eagles officials were hopeful the blow only came through contact and there was no structural damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.
Penrith also lost powerful second-rower Viliame Kikau to a knee injury late, in what was only his return match from a medial ligament strain on the same knee earlier in June.
The loss drops the Panthers back to fourth and behind Melbourne on the ladder, after they’d logged four straight wins before their loss to the Roosters last round.