Sydney Roosters back-rower Angus Crichton is set to miss the opening rounds of the 2023 NRL season after he was charged for a forearm to the head of Samoan player Chanel Harris-Tavita during the World Cup final.
The Grade B striking charge will see Crichton, who was sin-binned at the time, face a two-match ban for the hit, which Samoan coach Matt Parish said should have been a send-off.
Harris-Tavita was knocked out and took no further part in the contest, but Crichton insisted there was no malice in the challenge, making the surprising revelation that the duo are actually set to go travelling together in Europe.
The game was also supposed to be Harris-Tavita's farewell, with the 23-year-old making the shock decision back in May, saying his heart was no longer in the sport.
“First and foremost I was worried about him,” Crichton said after the game, per the Daily Telegraph.
“He's a great player and I'm actually meant to be travelling with him after this. There is no bad blood between me and Chanel.
“We talked after the game and we know there is all love there. It was honestly a genuine freak accident.
“That was not my intention at all, so to anyone I've upset – anyone in his family, anyone in the Samoan community, I am genuinely sorry for that because it was not my intention.
“I'm looking forward to hanging out with him.”