THE Newcastle Knights are facing a fine of $100,000 after being hit with an NRL breach notice for their handling of the Brendan Elliot incident on the weekend.
Elliot was hit in a high tackle by South Sydney centre Hymel Hunt in the 28th minute and immediately dropped to the turf. After treatment, he continued playing until the 62nd minute, when he suffered a second head knock and was replaced.
Other breach notices were issued to Gold Coast ($150,000) for incidents involving Kane Elgey, Joe Greenwood and Ryan Simpkins, and St George Illawarra ($100,000) for an incident involving Josh Dugan.
“These are, by far, the heaviest fines ever proposed by the game for concussion breaches,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said in a statement.
“That is how seriously we take it.
“The clubs involved have the opportunity to respond to the breach notices, and we will consider those responses, but our message is clear … we are not going to allow player safety to be put at risk through breaches of the concussion rules.”
The Knights have attracted heavy criticism for the Elliot incident, in particular from high-profile media commentator Peter FitzSimons.
All three clubs have five business days to respond to the breach notices.
It is understood Newcastle may try to argue that Elliot was not concussed after being hit by Hunt, but had suffered a whiplash-style neck injury.
The Elliot drama comes just weeks after former Knights winger James McManus launched legal action against the club for its handling of a series of career-ending concussions.