LOTE TUQIRI wouldn’t even let his kids do what Jared Waerea-Hargreaves did to him in Saturday night’s Foundation Cup, but the Roosters forward is set to be spared the prospect of facing anything more than a warning for pulling the Wests Tigers winger’s hair.
Tuqiri reacted angrily to his hair being tugged by the Kiwis international in Saturday night’s match at the Sydney Football Stadium, and complained to the on-field officials. ‘‘It’s one of my pet hates,’’ Tuqiri said. ‘‘I don’t even let my kids do it. I got a bit fired up, but that’s what happens.’’
Match review commissioner Greg McCallum yesterday said that only repeated hair-pulling infringements would be enough for a protagonist to be charged with an offence. Waerea-Hargreaves has been warned.
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Sign of the Tiger … Lote Tuqiri with fan Tata Phanitpol at Wests Tigers League’s Clubs fan day. Photo: Sasha Woolley
‘‘When I went to get up, he just kept my head down, with my hair,’’ Tuqiri said. ‘‘I just wanted a quick play-the-ball, and I took offence to it. It’s done and dusted now, but you don’t really need to do that. I might have to tie it up.’’
That said, the match reviewers are set for a busy Monday morning, with a number of players under the microscope for infringements - which means a number of clubs are sweating on decisions as a suspension now will eat into the premiership proper.
Another Roosters forward, Nate Myles, faces a charge after he appeared to tackle Tigers fullback Wade McKinnon beyond the horizontal.
Elsewhere, Sharks back-rower Jeremy Smith was placed on report for tripping in the 49th minute of his side’s clash with Newcastle on Saturday night, while Manly prop Jason King caught Warriors back-rower Micheal Luck high in their pre-season clash.
The Tigers are also battling to have their full compliment on the field for round one as a result of injuries. Forward Todd Payten yesterday admitted he might have to modify his training, just as Dragon Dean Young has, in order to get through the season.
Young is unable to train much as a result of chronic knee problems, and an off-season clean-up of the joint resulted in worrying signs for one of the Tigers’ forward leaders.
‘‘I think I’m heading down the road of Dean Young,’’ Payten said. ''It’s not ideal, but I’m grateful that I’m 32 and only got two years left, instead of being 24 or 25. I’ve spoken to the coach [Tim Sheens] - he had a bit to do with [Young] in the Australian side.
‘‘I do plan on giving him [Young] a call and seeing how he manages it throughout the year.’’
Payten will resume full-time training with the squad today, and will know by the end of the week whether he will be fit for the Tigers’ round one clash with the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
‘‘I’m heading in the right direction,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you finish. If I miss one or two at the start and manage to play … the rest of the year, it’s well worthwhile. It’s taken a lot longer than I hoped but it was something that I couldn’t muck around with.’’
Also underdone will be Englishman Gareth Ellis, who has battled an off-season groin problem. He is more certain to play in round one, with the Tigers’ medical staff almost clearing him to play against the Roosters on Saturday night.
‘‘It’s become a little bit chronic,’’ Ellis said. ''I’ve had it for a while now, and it’s been niggling for a few months. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so it’d be silly to stir it up now.
''It’s not the ideal preparation for a season … but sometimes, looking at the bright side, it might do me good just to have a quieter off-season.
‘‘I’ve had a lot of football over the last 10 years without much of a break. It might have done me good, just to stay off my legs a bit.’’
From the outside looking in, its a pretty dirty tactic to pull on his hair to hold down…. I didnt play against many people with long hair, but I did attempt plenty of times to slow the play-the-ball by pushing down on the head of an opposing player?!
Life bans for him, unless he signs with the Tigers!!!