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Cronulla prop Ben Ross says he's devastated at being branded a thug over his late hit on Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk.
Ross is facing a lengthy suspension over the incident from Sunday's 17-16 win over the Storm and will plead his case at the NRL judiciary Wednesday night.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy has labelled Ross' hit "the definition of a cheap shot" while fans on news websites labelled the prop a thug and a coward.
But Ross said on Tuesday it wasn't in his nature to intentionally hurt another player and described the hit as a split-second "accident gone wrong".
"If I was a thug I would have been high fiving and clapping and cheering that I knocked him to the ground," Ross said.
"But as soon as I actually hit high, I turned around to say 'are you okay?'
"I'm not like that ... and I hope the judiciary sees it that way."
Ross also said he didn't blame Storm prop Brett White for the retaliation punch that knocked him to the ground, just a week after being concussed in a head clash against Newcastle.
"I don't blame him for what he did," Ross said of White's punch.
"Maybe the way he went about it, but he's just sticking up for his mate and I agree with that."
White is facing a three week suspension for hitting Ross but the Storm will wait until the deadline of midday on Tuesday before deciding whether to contest his grade four striking charge.