Kangaroos forward Angus Crichton has been sanctioned over a controversial act in the Rugby League World Cup final that could impact his season with the Sydney Roosters in 2023.
Crichton looks set to miss the opening two games of the next NRL season with the Roosters, unless he successfully appeals a dangerous contact charge from Sunday's World Cup final triumph over Samoa.
The Kangaroos won their third straight World Cup title after a comfortable 30-10 victory over their Pacific rivals in the tournament decider at Old Trafford.
However, Crichton was sin-binned by referee Ashley Klein after he knocked Samoa hooker Chanel Harris-Tavita out cold with a raised forearm in the second half of the match.
The Roosters back-rower apologised for the incident but Samoa coach Matt Parish was "dumbfounded" that Crichton hadn't been dismissed.
Parish labelled Klein as "weak" and the tournament's match review committee found in his favour, handing Crichton a two-game suspension.
If he chooses not to appeal the decision, Crichton will be forced to sit out the Roosters' two opening games of the 2023 season when they take on NRL newcomers the Dolphins and the Warriors.
The Crichton incident left Samoa mentor Parish fuming in his post-match press conference, with the coach adamant the Aussie forward should have been sent off for the remainder of the game.
"Five minutes into the second half our hooker gets elbowed in the head and gets carted off, then the referee makes a weak decision and puts him in the bin, dumbfounded," Parish said after the game.
"An elbow to the head and the hooker gets knocked out and taken out of the game."
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga brushed aside the criticism from his rival coach and even insisted that Crichton's sin-binning was excessive.
"My view is that he should have stayed on the field, that's just silly," the Kangaroos coach said in his post-match press conference.
Angus Crichton sorry for elbow on Samoa rival
Crichton admitted that he spoke with Harris-Tavita after the final to apologise, and revealed that he would be travelling with his Samoa rival in coming days.
"He's a great player and I am actually meant to be travelling with him after this so there's no bad blood between me and Chanel ... I am genuinely sorry for that, it was not my intention at all," Crichton said.
"I didn't know he was coming and there was no malice at all, sending out my blessings to his family. It was just a genuine reaction, I never go out on the field to try and hurt someone."
However, fans agreed with Parish's assessment that Crichton should have been sent off for the elbow on Harris-Tavita.
Intentional or not, Angus Crichton has to sit for 10 after this high elbow.
📺 Watch #RLWC2021 on ch. 502 or stream on Kayo: https://t.co/B1ijnHf4i8
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— Fox League (@FOXNRL) November 19, 2022
I have been avoiding whining about the ref but Crichton's elbow is completely shameless, relying on the occasion to get away with it #RLWC2021
— Alex Harrowell (@yorksranter) November 19, 2022
Angus Crichton lucky to only get sin binned for raising his forearm to Chanel Harris Tavita, leaving him flat out.
— Gary Carter (@GaryCarter_1979) November 19, 2022
Watching the final in the RLWC and Angus Crichton was very lucky not to be sent off.
— Kevin (@kevcabana) November 19, 2022
Red card all day long that tackle…he looked before moving his arm/elbow.
Crichton not so Admirable….!
— marc renton (@marcrenton9) November 19, 2022
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