The Roosters' Cooper Cronk gets hit late by Brisbane's Tevita Pangai Jr at the SCG on Thursday night. Picture. Phil Hillyard
The Roosters' Cooper Cronk gets hit late by Brisbane's Tevita Pangai Jr at the SCG on Thursday night. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Fittler defends Pangai Jr over ‘dog shot’

TEVITA Pangai Jr was blasted from all areas of the country for his late hit Roosters star Cooper Cronk on Thursday night, but NSW State of Origin coach Brad Fittler insists it isn't a reflection on the Origin hopeful's character.

Cronk was flat on the ground and eventually forced off the field after the first-half brutality against the Broncos pack.

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns said it was a "dog shot" and a "low act" to put a shoulder into the halfback after he had passed the ball.

Fittler responded on Saturday: "All I've read about is how bad a shot it is, (people saying) it was a dog shot, it's all so emotional because we saw one of our stars, Cooper Cronk, get belted and it was a really crappy hit," Fittler said.

"It's a crappy thing to do but the thing is when I finished playing football (in 2004) there wasn't one of these plays (where halves would take the ball to the defensive line)."

Fittler said "every single coach" was telling forwards to do the same.

"He was late, whatever you want to call it, he was late and you need to be penalised for that.

"What he got was two or three weeks (suspension) and that's fair, because when you're late that's a huge risk.

"You're just watching their (playmakers) neck bend, the possibility of injuries to shoulders, all sorts of things, so I totally agree with the penalty.

"But I've got to balance it out with the fact that every single coach is telling people to do it.

"That was dumb, his coach is telling him to do things but it's just not working as quick as it should be in his head when (the opponent) passes the ball, so he's just got to work on his control."

News Corp Australia


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