Newcastle prop David Klemmer says his Manly rival Addin Fonua-Blake should have been sent off and questioned the character of the Eagles prop after his high shot on skipper Mitchell Pearce left the Knights without their chief playmaker for the final 12 minutes of Saturday night's 26-18 defeat.
Fonua-Blake was placed on report and sent to the sin-bin for striking Pearce high as the halfback was trying to catch a high kick-off following a Knights try in the second half and now faces a two match ban after being charged.
Pearce went for a HIA and didn't return with Klemmer and the Manly prop involved in a slanging match before he was binned. Fonua-Blake gestured to the crowd as he left the field.
"It was a careless, high tackle," Klemmer said after the game.
"I reckon he should have been sent off. It's our playmaker. We're trying to come back in the game.
"I'm obviously very close to Mitchell and seeing something like that, that's not part of rugby league. That could have been a lot worse. We have to make sure he [Pearce] is alright. We need him for next week."
Asked about Fonau-Blake, Klemmer didn't hide his contempt.
"If that's the person he is, if that's the character he wants to portray himself to be, then so be it," he said. "If he thinks that's fine to do on a rugby league field, that's him. If that's the image he wants for himself than so be it."
Klemmer believes the season has already reached a critical stage for the side after just five rounds following four straight losses but dismissed suggestions coach Nathan Brown should be under scrutiny for the performance against Manly.
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"After tonight, we have to start winning footy games," he said.
"We can't be happy with losing like this. It's not good enough. We have to start winning. It's plain and simple.
"We have to go on a couple of games winning streak to get us back into shape.
"I don't know who the coach is under pressure from? Probably the fans but we are not helping his cause.
"We are not playing the way he wants us to play. There is no consistency there from us."