Sharks half Chad Townsend has apologised for "letting my teammates down" after his shoulder charge on Kalyn Ponga rubbed him out of Cronulla's finals charge.
Townsend's return from a five-week calf injury lasted less than an hour against Newcastle, with his shot on Ponga seeing him sent off for the first time in his entire rugby league career and suspended for three weeks.
As a result Townsend won't be able to help shore up the Sharks' top-eight spot, with difficult games against the Warriors, Roosters and Raiders looming for the eighth-placed side.
His suspension is set to by softened by the return of Shaun Johnson from hamstring and groin injuries, but Townsend expressed his remorse over the incident that has blotted one of the cleanest reputations in the game.
"I feel like I've let my teammates down to not be able to be selected over the next few weeks and our Sharkies members and fans as well," Townsend said via his YouTube account on Monday.
"I've never been sent for 10 [minutes] let alone sent off in my whole rugby league life and I've been playing for a long time so I'm still a little bit disappointed about that.
Match Highlights: Knights v Sharks
"I never went out there to intentionally shoulder-charge.
"With those 20-metre taps everything happens so quickly and I was just competing and trying to do something good for my team and it came off the wrong way, which I definitely do regret."
Townsend referenced the fact he has had "a rough few days", with the premiership-winning half understood to have been taken aback by social media backlash over the incident.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien is considering resting Ponga for this Saturday's clash with the Roosters, but had been considering the move for some time and said it was not related to Townsend's shot on his No.1.
The Sharks sought legal advice as they weighed up challenging Townsend's ban, but the prospect of a guilty verdict and five-week suspension led to them taking the early plea.
Cronulla captain Wade Graham has also copped a two-game ban for his part in a lifting tackle on Mason Lino.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley endorsed referee Ben Cummins's decision to march Townsend, but did concede the Warriors were wronged by the critical sin-binning of Warriors forward Jazz Tevaga on Sunday.
Tevaga was given a 10-minute breather for lashing out at Parramatta's Nathan Brown by referee Grant Atkins after copping niggle from the Eels enforcer on the ground.
Annesley: Tevaga sin bin not warranted
Annesley said in his eyes "a penalty would have been sufficient" for Tevaga striking out at Brown.
But he also said players had to take responsibility for their actions, pointing out that Tevaga stays on the field if he doesn't react the way he did.
"If you do the crime you have got to be prepared to do the time," Annesley said.
"Do I think that incident was serious enough to go to the sin bin? Probably not.
"But I think it is only fair that everyone accepts their share of the responsibility.
"And the players have a responsibility. If they want to win games, they want to put themselves in contention, then they also have a responsibility not to place the officials in a position where they force them to make a decision that might negatively affect them.
"If you don’t want to concede penalties, if you don’t want to go to the sin bin, if you don’t want to be sent off, then don’t take the action in the first place."