St George Illawarra star Mikaele Ravalawa has reportedly drawn the ire of the Newcastle Knights, who are furious after accusing the winger of taunting Kurt Mann after he was dazed in a collision.
Ravalawa cannoned into Mann and three other Knights players after bringing the ball back with a head of steam, with Mann clearly coming off second best in Sunday afternoon's clash.
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The Dragons star was knocked to the ground as well in what was a very heavy collision, but bounced up and started talking to nearby Knights star Jacob Saifiti.
After that, Ravalawa turned and appeared to mock Mann, who was still lying dazed on the turf.
His actions sparked an all-in brawl, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on Tuesday that the Knights considered it 'unsportsmanlike' and a 'dog act'.
While there was anger over Ravalawa's initial actions towards Mann, the 23-year-old later checked on his Newcastle opponent.
Fortunately for Ravalawa, he was spared further blushes by teammate Tariq Sims, who shielded the dazed Mann from the brawl that erupted almost on top of him.
Sims was praised during the game for his actions in making sure his opponent was kept safe.
“Hats off, Tariq Sims, sportsmanship personified in that moment,” Fox League commentator Andrew Voss said during the broadcast.
“He’s over there shielding one of his opponents from the melee.
"That’s quite a moment in this sport of rugby league.”
Mann was one of four Knights players injured in a disastrous 22-13 loss on Sunday, with Mitchell Pearce (pectoral), Tex Hoy (hamstring) and David Klemmer (knee) also set to be sidelined.
Saifiti ban adds strain to Knights team
A suspension has ruled out Jacob Saifiti for Saturday's NRL clash with the Gold Coast, adding further strain to Newcastle's list of available players.
On Tuesday the Knights prop took the early guilty plea and accepted a one-match ban for a shoulder charge on St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa.
It adds Saifiti to a long list of players unavailable for the Knights, with the club likely to apply for dispensation to name a 21-man squad on Tuesday afternoon.
Newcastle have at least 10 players of their top 29 NRL contracted players unavailable through injury or suspension.
On Monday scans confirmed star halfback Mitchell Pearce would miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on a ruptured pectoral, suffered in Sunday's 22-13 loss to the Dragons.
Add Pearce to the list of outs which includes strike centre Bradman Best (elbow), winger Edrick Lee (foot), Phoenix Crossland (knee), Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder), Bailey Hodgson (knee) and Jirah Momoisea (Achilles) and head coach Adam O'Brien will have plenty of work to field a side next weekend.
Fullback Kalyn Ponga is set to return to the field from off-season shoulder surgery but he will come into a decimated side with most of the backline in the casualty ward.
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