The Brisbane Broncos are seething after a stray boot from Bulldogs forward Sam Kasiano left their captain Corey Parker on the ground bloodied and bruised.
The ugly incident occurred three minutes from full-time when Kasiano appeared to lash out with his boot – striking Parker in the face.
Parker was left with several stitches, and because of that he was unable to take his place in the post-match press conference, with teammate Sam Thaiday appearing instead.
Despite the incident, he and his side had the last laugh as they ran out 20-10 winners over Canterbury-Bankstown on Thursday night – keeping their top four hopes alive in the process.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett spoke post-match about the incident – questioning the actions of Kasiano.
"Corey's had to get stitches on his face so if Kasiano didn't do it with force then I think he wouldn't be needing stitches on his face," Bennett said.
"I'll leave it to the Match Review Committee to make their judgement on the incident.
"They'll need to determine if it was intentional or accidental, but it's a bit hard for me to think it's accidental when the tackle had been made and Parker was moving off him, and then Kasiano's feet lashed at him in a different direction
"Corey's not happy. He has stitches in his chin and his lip."
Parker was not the only one angry at the actions of Kasiano, with the whole Brisbane team firing up after the incident had taken place.
The Bulldogs next set of six with the ball was met by a rushing Broncos defensive line that hit harder than they had throughout the previous 77 minutes of football.
Brisbane stuck up for their teammate the only way they knew how, and Thaiday said that his side wanted to make a statement after the incident had taken place.
"There were a few occasions out there where we really had to lift as a team, but those last few minutes after the incident really fired us up," Thaiday said.
"It sparked us up as a team. If you watch the next defensive set we were right up in their face.
"We as players have no control over the decisions that the referees make. It's in the hands of the judiciary now and they can make a decision they see fit.
"We need to find whatever that feeling is that got us up for those last few minutes and bring it at the start of the game.
"If we do that then we won't have to have these tough wins because we'll be putting teams away in the 60th minute and not the 75th."
The Broncos will now face the top of the table Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park in a game that will be vital for Brisbane's top four aspirations.
Parker is expected to be fit to play in the Round 25 clash, and the veteran Bronco will be needed if Brisbane are to defeat a Melbourne side that ran out 42-point winners in the previous meeting between these two sides in Round 17.
The 34-year-old played down concerns about his health after Thursday's win, and he remained tight-lipped about his run-in with Kasiano.
"It's a game of footy. Those sorts of things happen," Parker said.
"He said to me after the game that he was sorry. I'll leave it up to you to have an opinion on the incident."