After only just returning from a three-game suspension that saw him miss the opening weeks of New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup campaign, Kiwis forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is again in hot water after being sin binned on Saturday morning (AEDT).

New Zealand strengthened their tournament bid at Emerald Headingley Stadium with a 38-point win over Ireland to finish their pool stage atop Group C with three wins from as many games.

Now set to enter the first round of finals, New Zealand and coach Michael Maguire could do so without Waerea-Hargreaves after a high hit on Ireland's Dan Norman saw him sent to the sidelines in the opening half of the 48-10 victory.

Ireland coach Ged Corcoran slammed the incident, labelling it a "dog shot" and a "game changer" under the circumstances.

“I've got to be careful with what I say but really disappointed with that dog shot (from) Hargreaves,” Corcoran said after the game, via Fox Sports. 

“I've lost two boys this week, two influential players for us on a misdemeanour charge which we challenged and were unsuccessful.

“For me that's a game changer... it's just a hard one to swallow.

“100 per cent (should have been sent off). It was a clear shoulder to the head, it's ended his night, it's ended his debut.

“The kid's dreamt of this since he was a child so to end your debut like that there's nothing worse is there?”

Waerea-Hargreaves had just returned from a three-game suspension sustained for a dangerous contact charge from the Sydney Roosters' elimination final defeat, with the sanction carrying over into the opening weeks of the World Cup.

After topping their group, New Zealand are set to face the runner-up from Group B, which could be any of Australia, Fiji, Italy or Scotland.