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Fighting 'won't be tolerated' in NRL

20/07/2009 07:02:14 PM Comments (0)

NRL match review committee chairman Greg McCallum has warned players that fighting will not be tolerated despite the positive publicity following last week's spiteful State of Origin finale.

The match review committee on Monday charged Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah and North Queensland's Anthony Watts with striking after the pair exchanged punches during separate scrums at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Farah can escape a ban with an early guilty plea for his retaliatory punch after he was hit by Watts in a scrum just two minutes earlier.

Watts was slapped with a sterner grade two charge and will cop one week with an early plea or two weeks if he takes the case to the judiciary and loses.

The vicious end to Origin III - where a series of brawls followed the one-on-one dust-up between Steve Price and Brett White - had received widespread approval from fans.

Neither Price nor White were charged as a result of the punch-up.

But McCallum, who could not speak about the Farah and Watts charges until after their cases had been resolved, warned players against taking matters into their own hands.

It comes in light of threats from the likes of Maroons centre Justin Hodges of a get-square with several NSW rivals.

"On Wednesday night it was very much the case that two players had engaged each other, both had the opportunity not to fight but chose to fight," McCallum said.

"It's not something that the game condones - but there are differences between two players one-on-one engaging in a fight and other things that may happen."

Farah is expected to take the early plea to ensure his availability for Sunday's vital clash with Canberra in the nation's capital, while it is believed Watts may challenge the grading of his charge.

Both players have until midday on Tuesday to enter their pleas.

Bulldogs winger Matt Utai can escape suspension with an early guilty plea after he was charged with a grade one dangerous throw offence in Friday night's win over Gold Coast.

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