Mitch Barnett: Newcastle Knights star hit with six-match ban

Mitch Barnett Newcastle

Newcastle Knights forward Mitch Barnett has been handed a six-match ban by the NRL judiciary.

Barnett was sent off during the Knights’ 38-20 defeat to Penrith in round three of the NRL. He struck Panthers forward Chris Smith in the jaw with a raised forearm in an off-the-ball incident.

He was facing a ban of up to eight matches, and a minimum of four. The panel accepted he did not mean to injure Smith, but did not accept that he did not see him until the last second.

Meanwhile, Smith has been ruled out of the Grand Final re-match against South Sydney, after he failed a HIA following the incident.

Speaking after his hearing, Barnett said: “I got a fair trial and one thing I take out is that I hope Chris is alright. I have sent him a text message and we have exchanged text messages.

“The lesson I learned is just that I obviously can’t be careless with my actions in terms of player safety. I have to be better there, and I learned a lesson. It is disappointing, but I will go away and do my time and do what is best for the team going forward.”

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During the hearing Barnett argued he was bracing himself, as he didn’t want to be knocked over. The Knights players were instructed not to leave it to the referee to determine an obstruction.

He also argued that the first point of contact was the chest. However, the panel ruled that the first point of contact was with the chin of Smith.

About Steven Hughes 380 Articles
Love Rugby League writer.

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