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14 hours ago
Cronulla playmaker Brett Kimmorley admitted on Monday his teammate Ben Ross's late and high elbow to Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk's jaw "looked ugly".
But the Sharks No.7 said at least Ross didn't dive at the legs of Cronk during his team's dramatic 17-16 victory at Olympic Park on Sunday.
Kimmorley suffered a serious knee injury in last year's State of Origin second game when Steve Price dived at his legs in an attempted charge down while the NSW halfback was kicking.
"I like my legs being protected for sure, I'm very vocal about that," said Kimmorley, whose 79th minute field goal sealed the narrow win for the Sharks.
"You've just got no protection (as a kicker).
"In Benny's situation, I know it looked ugly but he's still on his feet and he's not diving at his legs.
"I don't know if he was attempting a charge-down but it was a bit better than diving at the legs."
But Kimmorley's view isn't likely to help Ross at the NRL Judiciary on Wednesday night after the NRL match review committee referred Ross's striking charge straight to the judiciary.
"It was late and he had his elbow up," Storm skipper Cameron Smith said.
"They brought in a rule to take out the late hits on kickers.
"Obviously the referee's got it right there (in sending off Ross)."
Melbourne prop Brett White was charged with grade four striking and will be suspended for three weeks if he enters an early guilty plea.
He was also sent off after belting Ross in defence of his teammate Cronk.
The ugly incidents took the gloss off a gripping encounter as Melbourne suffered their first loss at Olympic Park since round 24 in 2006.
Former Storm star Kimmorley revealed he had been working hard on practicing field goals after Cronulla lost seven games by two points or less last year.
"It's pretty good how one kick can undo a lot of bad work and get you out of trouble," he remarked.
"It's been something we've worked on a lot at the club.
"I suppose losing tight games last year, Ricky has put a lot of importance on doing a lot of work and getting better."
Kimmorley has fond memories of being a foundation player for the Storm, who won the 1999 premiership under his guidance.
"It's very special for me to come back here (to Olympic Park) and play," he said.
"I still appreciate what the club (Melbourne) did for my future in getting me a start.
"I got my only grand final so it's a very special place in my heart."
Sharks second-rower Reece Williams is certain to miss Saturday night's clash with the Gold Coast at Skilled Park.
He could miss the rest of the season after hurting his knee late in Sunday's match.