Newcastle Knights enforcer David Klemmer says he’s moved on from his heated exchange with Dragons centre Zac Lomax, but has encouraged the NRL to punish taunting more harshly if it leads to melees.
Lomax caused a stir by jumping on Newcastle’s Tyson Frizell, a former teammate, as the Dragons celebrated a try in their round six win.
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The incident sparked a melee at the dead ball line and at full-time – broadcast vision showed Klemmer confronting Lomax about his behaviour.
This week, Lomax has been fined and Klemmer has moved on.
“Obviously it’s been well documented during the week and I was on camera, having some words with Zac there. It’s all done and dusted. I’m ready to move on with this week,” he said.
Klemmer said it bothered him that Lomax had chosen the softly spoken Frizell as his target.
“I know he was excited and I think he knows Tyson very well,” Klemmer said.
“(But) he’s not the type of person to do that to. There are other larrikins in our team that you could probably jump on, but just knowing Tyson personally, I think (Lomax) probably knows now that he shouldn’t have done it to him.”
Klemmer said the NRL could consider sin-binning players if the incident were to repeat itself.
“I think if it escalates to a melee or a bad melee, definitely they could bring something like that in,” he said.
“If it does cause a melee or something, there should be some repercussions.”
Klemmer said the NRL needed look no further than the Penrith Panthers for evidence that punishing overly zealous celebrations would lead to changes in behaviour.
Last season, Panthers centre Stephen Crichton was fined $1,350 for pulling Canberra’s Joseph Tapine from the sideline and into a Penrith try celebration.
“I think the Panthers do it well … they got in trouble last year, but they learned from it,” Klemmer said.
“I’ve got no problem with the way they celebrate, when they celebrate their tries.”
Klemmer said the Knights’ playing group was “very happy” captain Kalyn Ponga chose to sign a long-term contract extension on Wednesday.
Ponga shunned interest from the Dolphins to remain a Knight until at least the end of 2027.
“For him to stick around for a couple more years, it’s great to have,” Klemmer said.
“Just having him as our captain, someone like him, is huge around the locker room.
“When he told us (he’d re-signed), we were very happy for him.”