Gold Coast Titans coach Neil Henry admits he spoke to Konrad Hurrell about his on-field behaviour after the side's 36-20 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.
It was a mixed performance from Hurrell with the 25-year-old racking up over 180 metres that included a line-break.
But the Titans centre also failed to regather a grubber kick in the in-goal that would have put the Titans up by 20 and came up with two errors in attempts to play the ball – one of which he was later penalised for a verbal tirade towards referee Ashley Klein.
The confrontation continued after Alex Johnston's first try of the evening with the former Tongan international attempting to approach Klein before being held back by several Titans teammates in the in-goal area.
He later apologised to Klein before the half-time break.
"I had a word to [Hurrell], he was heated about it and felt he was unfairly treated but at the end of the day the decision was made and when he reacted like that it warranted a penalty," Henry said post-game.
"He needs to learn from that and not be as frustrated. He puts a lot of energy in trying to get the team forward and carries the ball well but at the end of the day we have to control possession."
As for the call in the ruck area itself, Henry believed there was enough evidence in 2017 to suggest the penalty could have gone to the visitors.
"You've got to get up and play the ball I know, but it's one of those discretionary penalties," he said.
"I thought it was a harsh call but won't really dwell on it too much. It changed the momentum for sure but we have to defend a change of possession."
The Titans lamented a poor second half against the Rabbitohs, compounded by another string of injuries that left the side with just one player on the interchange bench by full-time.
Ash Taylor and Joe Greenwood were casualties after head knocks, while fill-in Titans rake Pat Politoni succumbed to a shin injury 10 minutes before the siren sounded.
It was the club's fourth consecutive loss with their finals hopes now hanging by a thread, sitting in 14th position on the Telstra Premiership ladder after Round 15.
"We have had a very disjointed season but we still can't sit back and make excuses for our performance and need to be better in key areas," Henry said.
"We came into half-time playing some good football rolling down the field despite some lapses and we knew we had to maintain that but we just didn't and were in trouble.
"It was a good start with plenty of energy but in the end we ran out of troops but also missed a lot of tackles in the second half.
"They were able to convert that into long-range tries which is disappointing. We couldn't sustain it in the end."
Titans skipper Ryan James also endured a rough night after leaving the field in the sixth minute with a knee injury before returning and colliding heads with Greenwood at the backend of the contest.
"I am a bit disappointed with my performance and getting my head in a couple of the wrong places and making the wrong tackle choice," James said.
"I need to be better for the team."
Both Greenwood (cheekbone) and Politoni (leg) require scans, with the Titans set to return to Sydney in a week's time to take on the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium.