Newcastle Knights enforcer Jack Hetherington sins for another face slap

Newcastle Knights enforcer Jack Hetherington sins for another face slap

Knight enforcer ‘dumb’ condemned for ill-discipline act that could cost his side ‘that’s why he’s been to a few clubs’

Hetherington has become a serial criminal accumulating weeks of suspended wins for the Knights despite his hatred.

Knights hard man Jack Hetherington has been slammed for slapping Wests Tigers player Will Smith after a career littered with previous offenses and send-offs.

The fiery forward slapped Smith after a high hit in a tackle just after half-time in Friday night’s NRL clash between Newcastle and the Tigers. He was sin-binned for hitting, which could have cost the Knights big time.

While Newcastle won the match 34 – 18, the game was 18–10. And it wasn’t the first time Hetherington hit out like that.

In 61 games across four clubs, Hetherington has been sent off once, sin-binned six times, suspended seven times and spent 18 weeks on the sidelines.

New South Wales coach Brad Fittler said it was a pattern the Knight forwards needed to fix quickly.

‘That’s why he’s been to a few clubs, a bit hot under the collar,’ he said.

Peter Gough had no choice but to sin-bind troubled Newcastle forward Jack Hetherington after he slapped Will Smith during the Knights’ win over the Tigers.

Video replays show Smith leading the short-fused Hetherington to retaliate and he slaps Smith in the face with a right hand.

Former Australian, NSW and Cronulla enforcer Paul Gallen, now a commentator on Nine and an accomplished boxer, was also disappointed by Hetherington’s short fuse.

He said on Nine after the match: ‘The truth is everybody knows you get sent off for 10 minutes these days.

‘I remember four or five years ago when I was playing, if you slap someone with an open hand, it’s like a punch, you’re sent to the sin bin.

‘This guy, he’s a good player, I think he’s a really good player. He’s an athletic, big, strong guy, but so frustrating, he does some dumb things.

‘If you want to get punched in the head go to the local gym and drop someone a week and get the frustration out of your system.’

Hetherington is a repeat slapper and in a match against Penrith on June 24 this year he was again with the same result – spending time in the bin and letting his side down.

That afternoon, Hetherington was beaten for a fight with the Panthers’ talented Isaac Tago.

Hetherington completed a tackle on Tago before the Panthers center gave his opponent a slight push, which was the exception for the Knight backrow.

Michael Ennis was berating Hetherington while commentating the match at the time.

‘This is poor discipline from Hetherington. He got a little clip from Tago in the tackle and just thrashed,’ Ennis said.

‘It was nothing but a brush with Isaac Tago, but he hit Hetherington.

‘He tried to come off as the enforcer but he let his emotions get the better of him. It’s an expensive one for tonight’s outing.’

Hetherington did the same back on June 24 when Penrith’s Isaac Tago cuffed him in a tackle that angered the short-tempered Hetherington who slapped and punched him.

In his post-match press conference after the incident, Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien said ‘it wasn’t a smart decision by Jack’.

As a Bulldog in 2021, he was charged for the sixth time in 29 NRL games when he coat-hanged North Queensland’s Valentine Holmes.

Fox’s Cooper Cronk said after Will Smith’s slap: ‘Totally unnecessary from Jack Hetherington. Whether you agree or not, Jack Hetherington has no way of reacting that way.’

However, Knights diehard Andrew Johns somehow didn’t think the slap on Channel Nine’s commentary deserved a sin.

‘They can’t tie him up… I’m home, all the way, if he gets tied up for that,’ he said on Nine’s coverage.


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