Wests Tigers centre Joey Leilua faces a nervous wait to see if he faces a lengthy ban for an off-the-ball high shot on Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards.
Leilua finished Saturday night's 19-12 loss to the Panthers off the field and in the sin-bin, as his frustrations boiled over late in the match.
He was one of four players placed on report from the fiery contest, but will likely face the harshest punishment.
After his brother Luciano was taken from the field following a high shot in the 60th minute, Leilua was at the centre of several flashpoints in the last 20 minutes of the game.
He gave away a penalty in the lead up to Nathan Cleary's match-defining field goal, before the shot on Edwards who didn't even go close to the ball as it was kicked through.
If Leilua is charged, he won't be helped by weighting given he was suspended for two matches at the end of last year for a non-similar offence of dropping the knees.
BJ Leilua is a bit of a dog, isn't he.— The Rugby League Whisperer (@NRL_Oracle) July 4, 2020
Traditionally, I've liked I'm, but after tonight, I mean c'mon dude.
Grow up. You don't need to do stuff like that, it's dirty, and it costs your team time and time again. #NRLtigerspanthers#NRL pic.twitter.com/xLHBJ5mIVo
“He was emotional, gave away penalties. We just can't do that,” coach Michael Maguire said.
Fans and particularly league commentators were absolutely furious with Leilua, labelling his hit on Edwards ‘a dog shot’ and suggesting there was no place for him in the NRL.
ABC Grandstand commentator and former player Luke Lewis said Leilua deserved to sit out for 16 weeks, while co-commentator Andrew Moore said it was a disgrace the referee sin-binned Leilua instead of sending him off.
“A sin bin? That’s weak as water,” Moore said.
“That doesn’t mean anything with two minutes to go. The send off rule doesn’t exist in rugby league anymore.
“Get rid of it from the rule book, because the referees are too gutless to send anyone off.”
Fellow ABC caller Michael Carayannis labelled it ‘a dog shot’.
Joey Leilua heavily criticised by NRL pundits
There were plenty of people lining up to criticise Leilua over his hit on Edwards, with Fox Sports commentator Braith Anasta calling the move ‘just crap’, while Channel 9’s Matthew Thompson said it was moments like this that would epitomise Leilua’s career.
“Joey Leilua. How predictable. Gifted talent but a liability to any team with that nonsense,” Thompson posted on Twitter.
Fans were also less than impressed with Leilua, with many taking to Twitter after the game to register their displeasure.
Joey Leilua is an embarrassing coconut. Disgraceful.— Anthony (@rugbyworldgame) July 4, 2020
Joey Leilua to get a couple weeks for that one, surely. Not the sharpest tool in the shed but I knew that was coming after Luciano went down, matter of time.— Nick D (@shreddievedder1) July 4, 2020
Shot by Joey Leilua after the play is one of the grubbiest things I’ve seen in rugby league for many years. #nrltigerspanthers— Steven (@Svenovik) July 4, 2020
Not only should Joey Leilua get 6 weeks for his high shot on Dylan Edwards, at the end of the suspension the Tigers should tear up his contract.— Warren Smith (@WarrenSmithFOX) July 4, 2020
Worst signing by any club in the NRL era.#NRLTigersPanthers
The Tigers are set to take on South Sydney next Friday night.