More pain for Broncos as star charged for ‘dog shot’
THE besieged Broncos have been dealt another blow with blockbusting forward Tevita Pangai Jr facing a two-match suspension in the wake of Brisbane's woeful 36-4 loss to the Roosters.
Pangai Jr was hit on Friday with a grade-two dangerous contact charge by the NRL match-review committee for his late shot on Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk in the 17th minute of Brisbane's worst-ever loss to the Bondi club.
The Tongan international has the opportunity to contest the charge but he is almost certain to plead guilty to striking Cronk.
Even with an early guilty plea in the coming days, Pangai Jr will attract 210 demerit points - which would rule him out of this Thursday night's clash against the Wests Tigers and Brisbane's round six road trip to face his former club the Raiders in Canberra.
Pangai Jr's cause is not helped by his record with the Broncos bookend receiving a 20 per cent loading for two non-similar offences in the past two years. He also has 40 carry-over points, leaving him facing the disappointment of a two-game ban.
Champion playmakers Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston blasted Pangai Jr for his late hit on Cronk, calling it a "dog shot" and demanding the NRL get tougher to eliminate the practice of defenders taking out the code's playmakers with cheap shots.
It capped a nightmare 24 hours for Pangai Jr, who learned his father, Tevita, had suffered a heart attack and needed surgery just hours before kick-off.
The Broncos prop had been urged by his father to play against the Roosters, who have been linked with the off-contract Tongan powerhouse.
Broncos teammates were sympathetic to his family concerns and captain Darius Boyd said the 23-year-old had been trying in his hit on Cronk to apply pressure on a playmaker.
"We talk about our forward pack pressuring the other team's halves,'' Boyd said.
"Whether it was a bit late of not, it was Tevita trying to do what is part of his job.
"It was probably a bit late, but we were all off in a lot of areas in that game.''
Pangai has become a player who seems to feel he has to make big statements in defence, as evidenced when he rushed up and didn't get to Korbin Sims in a try against the Dragons the previous week.
Asked if Pangai had been trying too hard since his headline-grabbing tackles to disrupt the Cowboys pack two weeks earlier, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said: "You'd rather him try than not try. It's a penalty.
"I'd prefer our players didn't get penalised, no doubt about that.''
Cronk was much less volatile in his reactions after the game than his two Test halfback predecessors Johns and Thurston, who condemned Pangai Jr.
"He didn't miss me. It's part of the game,'' said Cronk, adding it had "hurt a lot''.
Cronk had his scapular bone broken by a fearsome collision off the ball by South Sydney's Sam Burgess in the preliminary final last year.