Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has urged the game’s authorities to better distinguish between thuggish players, and true sporting warriors.
Amazingly, the former England prop has never been suspended in his career, a fact which McDermott felt helped the player’s cause.
“That had a massive bearing; you can’t fail to recognise that,” the coach told local reporters in Yorkshire.
“(But) there is a sense of frustration of why he was even called up. Our game has never really made a distinction between the thug and a braveheart.
“It almost seems to be making too strong a point on the people who retaliate and not enough about the people who are the actual instigators.”
McDermott was also unflinching in his assessment of Leigh’s approach to the game, particularly as Sarsfield, whom mamy people felt initiated the confrontation, received no additional punishment after his yellow card in the game.
“Leigh had a strategy to win the game,” he added.
“They felt they couldn’t deal with JP’s open and honest game where he just runs as hard as he can and keeps as fit as he can so he can go longer than anybody else.
“Leigh concede they can’t do that so what they do is wait until he is on the floor and cheap shot him and head butt and try to get him to retaliate and get sent off.
“While ever those thugs aren’t being made accountable, you will always give those thugs the motivation to do it.
“It’s unbelievably frustrating. It was a head-scratching moment when they said the Leigh player wasn’t acting against the spirit of the game.”