Cronulla star James Maloney claims Konrad Hurrell admitted trying to milk a penalty from the incident that’s casting a shadow over the Sharks’ NRL minor premiership ambitions.
Maloney faces a ban of up to three matches after being charged with grade two dangerous contact for his 88th-minute tackle on giant Titans centre Hurrell during Monday night’s thrilling 18-18 draw.
The NSW State of Origin playmaker can cop a two-game suspension with an early guilty plea, however he has been so influential this season that any time on the sidelines will be a major blow to high-flying Cronulla.
Maloney wrapped his arms around a standing Hurrell’s left leg before bringing him down awkwardly by driving his shoulder into the back and side of his leg as he was held by another tackler.
An upset Hurrell stayed down, allowing the bunker to review the 88th-minute incident, however the tackle went unpenalised and the centre played on strongly, though he appeared ginger at times.
Maloney said he initially feared his former Warriors teammate had suffered an injury.
“I actually started getting worried for him, obviously knowing him,” Maloney told Triple M NRL.
“I actually thought, `I hope he hasn’t done anything’. He comes over to me afterwards and goes, `They didn’t give me a penalty’.
“He’s a rat, mate.”
Maloney, who has missed just one game this year, has been one of the key factors’ in the Sharks’ push to the top of the table that has them well-placed to finally break their premiership drought.
The 30-year-old is on track to become just the fourth player in history to claim four straight minor premiership after helping the Sydney Roosters to first-place finishes in the past three years.
He is also the competition’s second-leading pointscorer on 154 points.
Centre Jack Bird is likely to push into the halves should Maloney be unavailable for this week’s top-four clash against Canberra.
The Sharks’ final four games are against St George Illawarra (away), South Sydney (away), the Sydney Roosters (home) and Melbourne (away).
The Sharks, who are one point ahead of Melbourne, have until midday Wednesday to decide whether to fight the charge.