Felise Kaufusi has addressed his ugly elbow to Ryan Matterson’s head for the first time – but he’s refused to make an apology.
Melbourne Storm second-rower Felise Kaufusi has addressed his ugly elbow to Ryan Matterson’s head for the first time – but he’s refused to make an apology.
The Queensland State of Origin forward copped a two-game ban after appearing to strike Matterson’s head with his right elbow as the Parramatta Eels back-rower fell to ground in a tackle in round two.
Matterson suffered a concussion and is finally set to return to the field when the Eels meet the Canterbury Bulldogs at Stadium Australia on Saturday.
Kaufusi said he hadn’t reached out to Matterson and maintained that he played hard but fair.
“It’s just one of those things that happened in the game,” Kaufusi said on Sydney’s Nine News.
“There was no intent and unfortunately he has had some previous head-knock injuries.
“I love being aggressive, playing hard, but obviously well within the rules.
“Unfortunately that one did hit him over the head, but I don’t go out there to intentionally hurt someone.”
Former Cronulla Sharks and NSW Blues captain Paul Gallen said in the aftermath of the incident that Kaufusi hadn’t done anything wrong.
“I don’t think it was the elbow that concussed him,” Gallen said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
“It think the elbow was a glancing blow.
“It was the force with which he hit the ground that knocked him out.”
But Penrith Panthers and Sydney Roosters legend Brad Fittler voiced the opposite view, saying the NRL must get more serious about head injuries.
“We’re at a place with knowing more about our bodies and our brains. Careless and reckless things that happen in a game – you need to come down harder,” Fittler said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio at the time of Kaufusi’s elbow.
“Four to six weeks might have been something better (than two weeks).
“All of a sudden your coach isn’t backing you, saying that was stupid and you’re going to cost the team.”