Roosters and Tides big men Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Nelson Asofa-Solomona locked horns in a fiery first-half battle as tempers flared at AMI Park.
Controversy began when Melbourne prop young gun Sam Verrills tackled him and received a hand to the throat from Victor Radley.
Later, Cameron Munster was tackled by Waerea-Hargreaves on the Roosters’ tryline – and it was clear the tension was coming to a boil.
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Asofa-Solomona sparked controversy by tackling Radley as he attempted to take the ball from a Storm player.
“This will make Nelson interested, and this one has a little more venom, Waerea-Hargreaves and Asofa-Solomona, old fighters coming together,” Fox League’s Dan Ginane said.
Referee Adam Gee drew a “line in the sand” and warned both captains that he would not hesitate to send players to the bin.
“Listen, I told you about Nelson, he came in and picked it up again and he was catching players,” Gay said.
“Listen to me, if he comes in again, or if any other mild puppies are put down, no more, no more lines in the sand.
But neither group listened.
Out of the free-kick, Asofo-Solomona lined the target and was charged by Warea-Hargreaves and both teams hugged and held faces at the downed prop.
“Adam G. has set a standard and he has to stick to it, he just took one solution to this flare-up,” Ginane said.
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“This is going to test the judge.”
After a review, Waerea-Hargreaves is seen making a second attempt, connecting with the Storm’s face.
“It’s not first contact, it’s on the ground,” said Gay, holding up ten fingers to send Warea-Hargreaves rallying.
A deafening roar erupted from the Melbourne crowd at AMI Park as the Storm escaped any penalties for the series battle, ending the first half 14-6.
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