It was the tackle that drew a stunning rebuke from rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns, but Canberra star Josh Hodgson denies it was a cheap shot.
The Raiders will be sweating bullets ahead of the release of the NRL match review committee’s charge sheet on Tuesday after Johns ripped into Hodgson for his grapple tackle on Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich.
The Canberra No.9 was penalised for twisting the head of Bromwich in the 17th minute of their 22-8 win on Monday night, however wasn’t put on report by referee Matt Cecchin.
But that didn’t stop Johns from calling out the English international to be banned.
“He’s used his head as a can opener there,” Johns said of Hodgson on Triple M’s commentary.
“That was a real cheap shot, because his arms are wrapped up he had to hold the ball and couldn’t defend himself. He should get suspended for that.”
Hodgson post-game described the tackle as a “brain explosion” that gifted the Storm two points, and conceded that the ensuing replays did him no favours.
But he rejected the notion that it was deliberate.
“There was no malice in that. I was just trying to slow the play-the-ball down,” he said.
“Everyone has a bit of a brain explosion, that was me giving away a silly penalty. I’ve seen the replay, it didn’t look great.”
Any suspension for Hodgson is likely to rule him out of the Dally M race, which had him just two points behind leaders Cameron Smith, Ryan James and Cooper Cronk when voting went behind closed doors in round 16.
It would also be the first time the 26-year-old will miss an NRL game since moving to the nation’s capital from the Super League’s Hull KR two summers ago.
He has been one of the Raiders’ best in their push to third spot on the table this season.
“I don’t want to miss any game time. I never intentionally go to injure anybody,” Hodgson said.
“It was just a silly penalty, that was all.”
Bromwich said he hadn’t seen the tackle and declined to comment further, while Raiders coach Ricky Stuart also angrily batted away questions on the incident in the press conference.
“Who cares? Why do you want to talk about that for? Let’s talk about what a great win it was,” he said.