Newcastle prop James Gavet can avoid suspension with an early guilty plea.
Newcastle prop James Gavet can avoid suspension with an early guilty plea.

NRL crackdown: Knights' James Gavet charged over late hit

NEWCASTLE prop James Gavet has been charged by the match review committee over the late shot on Canterbury's Chris Smith that got him sin-binned in the Knights' 20-14 loss on Friday night.

Luckily for Gavet, he's only been hit with a grade-one dangerous contact charge, which means with an early guilty plea he'll be able to play in his side's next clash against the Sydney Roosters at the SCG.

Newcastle coach Nathan Brown was reluctant to challenge the decision of the referees given the NRL had made no secret of a crackdown to protect players after they passed and kicked the ball.

"Everyone can make their judgment there, but at the end of the day they said they were going to do it and they've done it, so they have stuck with what they said," Brown said.

"There is not a great deal I can come out and say against it. It is a part of the game they want to eradicate, which is fair enough."

However Brown denied he had taught any of his players to attack players late.

"You wouldn't have seen us do a late hit on anyone, on kickers," Brown said.

"We have always taught them to grab and bump."

Brown admitted his side had not coped well with Gavet's sin-binning poorly as they let in two tries that essentially cost the Knights a win.

"When we had 12 men we handled that terribly," Brown said.

"We kicked out on the full then had an error and a bad kick.

"We kept putting ourselves under pressure. The sin-binning was crucial and then the way we handled the sin-binning was poor.

"If we got away with one try then who knows what might have happened, but we just handled that period of the game poor."