Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has come under fire after an ugly incident with Manly debutant Zac Fulton in the Roosters' 20-10 win on Thursday night.
Waerea-Hargreaves was penalised while in possession of the ball after driving his elbow into the head of Fulton while he was lying on the ground.
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The Roosters enforcer lashed out at his 20-year-old opponent after a previous tackle, striking the Manly rookie in the face with his hand.
Things then got ugly after the next tackle when Waerea-Hargreaves put his elbow firmly into Fulton's face and held it there as the youngster was lying on the ground.
The Kiwi forward was penalised by referee Grant Atkins, who said Waerea-Hargreaves' actions were 'unacceptable'.
“Regardless if he thinks he is all over him, Jared can’t do what he did, that is unacceptable, that is why it is against you,” Atkins told Roosters captain James Tedesco.
The Roosters prop was handed a grade-one dangerous contact charge on Friday morning, bringing with it a $3000 fine.
Fox League commentator Andrew Voss said the treatment of the debutant was part and parcel of the game in previous eras, but things have changed.
“That elbow, forearm with force into the face... ill-disciplined, but I will quantify this, those who have watched for a long time, that went on all the time when a bloke made his debut,” Voss said.
“The young kid had to earn his stripes, I know it is a different time, but there would be some dipping their lid to that.
“But you give away a penalty in 2022, we have moved on. Fulton didn’t complain, it was his badge of honour.”
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) July 28, 2022
Parramatta Eels champion Nathan Hindmarsh expressed similar sentiments.
“I was loving it, probably not necessary, but welcome to first grade, I don’t think it bothered Fulton too much,” he said on the Matty Johns show.
“He is going 'well I am in first grade now, I am going to cop a little bit of this'.
"Having the surname he does as well. But I didn’t mind it, I think it is a bit of initiation, we all copped it here and there.”
Fans were quick to call out Waerea-Hargreaves on social media, with some labelling his actions 'dirty' and 'disgusting'.
That was disgusting from JWH. And then he gets up and shouts in the refs face #NRLManlyRoosters
— 𝓚𝓮𝓲𝓪𝓻𝓷𝓪 🦋 (@Keiarnaaaa) July 28, 2022
That was absolutely disgusting! JWH targets the young ones all the time. He was rough with that poor kids within minutes of him being on the field, I reckon it's jealously that the young bloods are coming through and he knows he is starting to be washed up.
— missymossy (@missymossy5) July 28, 2022
JWH continues to amaze me with his new levels of gronk. Fulton a go getter despite the fact!! & Roosters were really giving …. BORING🤭😂
— Adz (@adelinefa2) July 28, 2022
JWH’s over the top foreman to the head of Zac Fulton was brainless.
Next week the Roosters take on a gun Brisbane pack with no Taukeiaho & Collins.
Payne Haas will have a field day if Jarrod is missing.
— The Oracle (@BigOtrivia) July 28, 2022
So the @sydneyroosters have Broncos and cowboys coming up and JWH is doing shit like that 🤦♂️. My favourite player but Jesus Christ we need him on the field not off it . Surely he misses a week , can’t be rubbing elbows into a head these days 🤦♂️
— livelife (@Rstoors4life) July 28, 2022
Depleted Manly side go down to Roosters
Manly's makeshift side kept their pride but points proved their biggest issue as they were outgunned by the Roosters.
After the most dramatic and controversial lead up to a game this season, Manly managed to stay in the game despite seven of their players boycotting their rainbow pride jersey.
For all the expectations of a Roosters flogging, Trent Robinson's men were outscored 4-2 in the second half against the depleted Sea Eagles.
Still they did what they needed to do by controlling the match and going clear into the top eight, with their biggest concern being a second concussion in 15 days for Lindsay Collins.
And they did it all against a Manly team playing on the emotion of the most draining weeks possible, in front of a crowd sporting rainbows.
"I haven't come off after a loss and been so quick to smile," captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.
"Because when you sit back and think about what's happened this week, all we ever asked was for people to give their effort.
"And against a really good side tonight, we did that.
"The main objective tonight was to do the club and fans proud, so I hope we did that."
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