Mitch Barnett sent off for Knights after forearm smash

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Newcastle Knights forward Mitch Barnett has become the first player to be sent from the field in 2022 after a shocking elbow to the jaw of Panthers forward Chris Smith.

Smith was running a decoy line and had almost come to a standstill when Barnett had his brain explosion, raising his forearm straight into his opponent’s face.

It was initially missed by the officials, who continued play as Smith lay prone on the floor, with the Panthers even having a try taken off by the bunker while their man was down.

It was only after the bunker had decided on the try that referee Peter Gough was alerted to the foul play.

Warren Smith on the Fox League commentary called the shot “as cheap as it gets” while Steve Roach described it as “the sort of challenge that we thought had gone out of the game”.

Fox League analyst Cooper Conk said Barnett should receive a lengthy suspension, calling it “ugly” and “stupid”.

“To raise the elbow in that position and make contact on the chin. Sent off I agree with and he will be spending a long, long time on the sidelines,” said Cronk.

Benji Marshall described it as “a moment of madness” and said that it would likely cost the Knights the game.

“They were leading 6-4 before that moment and now they’ve got to struggle and come back from 12-6 down with one man off the field,” said the Kiwi legend.

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