Cronk’s surprise take on TPJ’s ‘dog shot’
He's one of the small men most vulnerable to late shots but Cooper Cronk believes the message is getting through and the NRL doesn't need to toughen penalties for offenders.
The Sydney Roosters halfback was the victim of an ugly hit from Brisbane's Tevita Pangai Jnr last week after he passed the ball at the line.
Andrew Johns labelled the hit a "dog shot".
Pangai Jnr will serve a two-game ban for the incident but the NRL admitted on Monday he should have been sin-binned in the Broncos' loss.
It prompted calls from Brad Fittler for the act to be treated like a shoulder charge, increasing the demerit points associated with it in a bid to eradicate the dangerous practice from the game.
The NRL has no plans to do so mid-season but could increase the dangerous contact gradings if there is an increased prevalence.
Cronk, who has been on the receiving end of his fair share of hits in his 351 games over the past 15 years, insists it's all part of the game and the league doesn't need to take extra action.
"I don't understand what the noise is about," he said.
"Rules are in place. Rugby league is a contact sport and part of it is if you take it to the line pressure is put on.
"If you're making a fair and reasonable tackle it's part of the game.
"But if you go late and high with aggressive intent then there is an issue.
"I think (the punishments) are fair and reasonable at the moment and in the right spot for it." Cronk labelled Pangai Jnr's hit as "unreasonable in rugby league" but believed the two-game ban was sufficient.
He was also fine with the Brisbane forward not being sin-binned. Eleven players were last year charged with similar offences, while Pangai Jnr is the first charged with that dangerous contact charge this year. "It's like anything, when you get slapped with a fine or punishment you tend to tone it back a bit," Cronk said.
Regardless, Cronk was determined not to let the big men win and vowed to continue taking the line on.
"Part of the reason why teams do that is to make you play earlier, so you don't create space for the outside men," Cronk said.
"It's part of my job. (Stopping) would be like a front-rower getting tackled hard and then pulling up the handbrake before he gets to the line."