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Penrith's James Maloney says the base penalty for late and dangerous contact should be treated on par with a shoulder charge in bid to rub out late shots on players.

Maloney underwent neck surgery in the off-season and although denying the injury was directly a result of late tackles and heavy body blows throughout his career, he believes it may have contributed to the long-term build-up of his injuries.

The incumbent Blues five-eighth acknowledged halves were paid well enough to be targeted and said forwards had a right to take out playmakers, but not from behind when they least expect it.

"Ones in the back are horrible, they're all sorts," Maloney said on Monday in reference to Tevita Pangai's dangerous contact on Cooper Cronk last week that has generated wide debate around the current penalty system.

"I had the neck operated on last year and that would trigger … knocks like that. I think if you go at the line and you see it coming then no halfback is ever going to whinge about getting hit.

"But that wasn't going into the line, that was back turned and it's a bad thing. It's not a good feeling."

Get caught up: Round 4

The base penalty for a grade one dangerous contact (other) stands at 100 base points, while a grade-one shoulder charge already attracts at least 1-2 weeks on the sidelines unless successfully fought at the NRL judiciary.

In Pangai's case, he received a grade-two dangerous contact charge, attracting 210 points with an early guilty plea.

"I think people know, there's a difference there," Maloney said.

"That's why they got rid of the shoulder charge because they couldn't distinguish head on, they said regardless whether it contacts the head or not it's establishes a whiplash effect.

"If that's the reasoning you outlaw a shoulder charge then this is probably the same, if not worse.

"At least a shoulder charge is head on and you brace for contacting knowing it's coming."

Maloney joked he had a terrible memory when it came to remembering specific cases of being on the end of late hits but says he can feel when one is worse than the other.

"There's definitely ones you feel don't miss, it's once you pass and relax. When they're coming from behind and your backs turned," he said.

"[The neck surgery] was a build-up so it probably didn't help. It was just wear and tear but those sort of things certainly can't help it."

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