Eels co-captain Reni Maitua believes Mitchell Allgood had no choice but to hit or be hit when he took on Manly’s Steve Matai on Monday night.
While Maitua said he doesn’t condone violence on the field, he has defended his teammate for punching Matai after the Sea Eagles centre went out of his way to challenge him.
“Mitchell’s desire and want got the better of him in the end,” Maitua said.
“Frustration came into his game. Stevie is a scary guy and he’s been a bit of a bully, so to speak.
“I’ve been good friends with him over a number of years but I think Mitchy saw him coming and it was hit or be hit. I don’t condone it and it’s not a good look for the game but it happened. It’s what Mitch has to deal with now.”
It isn’t the first time this season Allgood has been involved in an on-field brawl.
The 24-year-old prop went toe-to-toe with Brisbane’s Josh McGuire in May, but on that occasion he was the one on the receiving end of a blow to the head.
“He has been on the other end of it against Brisbane,” Maitua said. “He took out Peter Wallace a bit late and there wasn’t much in it, but he hands down and got king hit. He probably thought in his mind that he’s not going to let that happen again.
“Stevie came a long way out of the line to confront him and I don’t know if he was going to hit him or not, but Mitchell took it into his own hands and he’s going to have to deal with the consequences. It’s either hit or be hit, that’s the reality of the situation. Stevie is a great guy and he probably wasn’t going to him but it happened and the match review committee can deal with it now.”
Allgood has copped a grade three striking charge for the incident that escalated after his swinging arm on Jamie Buhrer riled Matai in the final minutes of Monday night’s clash at Brookvale Oval.
If he takes the early plea he’ll cop a two-game ban but if he fights the charge and is unsuccessful he will miss three matches.
It’s understood Parramatta will use vision of the Trent Merrin and Paul Gallen punches they landed in Origin over the first two games, which each resulted in them missing one game, as part of their defence if they decide to fight the grading.
“Mitchell is a good kid and he really wants to win,” Maitua said. “Unfortunately he took it to the 70th minute and even though the game was out of reach he still wanted to lift the team, but he lifted the team the wrong way, I guess.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.