Graham Annesley has put foul play repeat offenders on notice and warned they could miss finals matches unless a "disturbing trend" in ill-discipline is quickly addressed.
The NRL's head of football was dismayed by the fact 17 of the 22 charges laid by the match review committee throughout round 21 involved players with records of previous offences.
He also noted 43 of the 92 penalties awarded during the round were due to foul play and 98 possible instances of foul play were reviewed by the match review committee.
Most concerningly for Annesley, the total of 22 charges is a marked increase from 17 in round 20 and just nine in round 19.
A host of players including Roosters second-rower Angus Crichton, Panthers duo Liam Martin and Kurt Capewell and Dragons enforcer Tariq Sims have accepted bans for incidents over the weekend.
Bulldogs pair Dylan Napa and Jack Hetherington are facing multiple weeks on the sidelines while Penrith hooker Api Koroisau and Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will challenge contrary conduct charges at the judiciary on Tuesday night.
"Because 17 of the 22 charges involved players with prior records, we saw 12 of the charges carry [potential] suspensions rather than fines - and it was primarily due to their record," Annesley said.
"So although they were low-grade offences in most cases, a lot of them have resulted in suspensions that would have normally brought a fine if the player had a clean record.
It is a disturbing trend. It's one that I hope is a bit of a glitch.Graham Annesley
"Eighteen of those 22 charges would have seen only fines issued if the player did have a clean record and was not a repeat offender.
"The vast majority of our players get through their careers without ever troubling the judiciary, but we have got some [repeat offending] players - through technique or aggression or whatever it might be. And there's nothing wrong with controlled aggression.
"But when it goes beyond controlled aggression and breaches the rules, then the referees, the match review committee and judiciary generally have got a responsibility to come down on that because we're trying to protect the players who are not offending and we're trying to protect the players who are offended against.
"It is a disturbing trend. It's one that I hope is a bit of a glitch and will settle down over the next few weeks. But one thing for certain is that things won't be backing off [in terms of punishment].
"None of the things that I've just run you through are the result of any crackdown. This is just what happened in the normal course of play across the course of the weekend."
Annesley acknowledged the frustration of "living away from home" in South-East Queensland as the regular season starts to wind up, but reiterated players must manage their emotions.
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"We're still four weeks from the finals, but if we've got finals teams that find themselves with these types of players committing these types of offences and we get to round 25, teams face the prospect of playing finals without some of their players," he said.
"And so I'd rather address it now a month out. Hopefully, we can pull some of that back a little bit. We don't have blatant acts of deliberate foul play. Sometimes it's a result of just too much aggression and the aggression has got to be more controlled.
"Sometimes it's a result of an accident, I'll certainly admit that. And sometimes it's just misjudgement.
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"But when you look at the increase in the number of incidents we've seen over the last few weeks, you would have to say that there is a bit of a trend there.
"The other thing I would point out is that many of these acts that have resulted in charges are for absolutely avoidable incidents.
"Some of these incidents were completely avoidable and were a result of nothing more than poor discipline."
Every try from Round 21
Elsewhere, Annesley conceded the NRL Bunker erred in confirming a try from a kick to Newcastle back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon when Bradman Best had obstructed Broncos flyer Jamayne Isaako.
He also said Storm star Josh Addo-Carr should not have been allowed to play on after stripping the ball from Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic because the tackle had been completed.
But he backed referee Gerard Sutton's call to sin-bin Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for a professional foul after slowing down the play-the-ball against the Panthers.
The decision led Tricolours coach Trent Robinson to lament a perceived lack of officiating "consistency" after his team's 20-14 loss.
"One of the constant discussion points in our game is about this issue of consistency," Annesley said.
"The point I would make is no two incidents are ever the same and there are degrees of severity in every incident.
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"Some incidents will result in a penalty and nothing more, some incidents will result in a penalty and harsher action, a sin bin.
"Every incident requires a response based on the degree and severity of the incident. In the case of Jared's incident, I think there is a strong case that it was a pretty blatant delay in the play-the-ball.
"He had a couple of attempts to slow that particular play-the-ball and in that field position, with those circumstances, then I have no problem with the action the referee took."