James Tedesco says former teammate Latrell Mitchell must "learn a lesson" and temper his playing style after his latest high contact with an opponent ended his and Joey Manu's seasons.
Tensions between Roosters players and Mitchell threatened to boil over more than once upon his return from the sin bin on Friday night, with players on the Tricolours bench understood to have verbally sprayed him at one point when he came from the field.
Channel Nine footage aired on Sunday also showed Mitchell engaged in a heated post-game exchange with Roosters players.
Mitchell has accepted a six-game suspension for what was deemed a grade-two reckless high tackle on Manu, with loading from four prior offences in the past two years ensuring he will not play again in 2021.
Manu is almost certainly in the same boat after successful surgery on Saturday inserted three metal plates into the right side of his face.
Mitchell won two premierships at the Roosters and has known Manu since the pair were teenagers, Tedesco telling media on Sunday that he spoke with the Rabbitohs No.1 after full-time.
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"He said he didn't mean it and it was an accident," Tedesco said of his own conversation with Mitchell.
"It happens pretty quick when you're at fullback and Latrell I don't think would do it on purpose but it's forceful contact to the head.
"So whether it's an accident or on purpose, if it causes someone to break a fair amount of bones in his face, it must be pretty forceful and to the head.
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"You just can't do that."
Tedesco captained Mitchell at Origin level this year when he made a stunning return to the NSW side, and pointed out that the Rabbitohs star's aggressive manner is a key facet of his game.
But the Roosters skipper also noted Mitchell's previous instances of "making contact with the head", the most notable being a four-match ban earlier this year for a hit on Wests Tigers David Nofoaluma that was unsuccessfully challenged at the judiciary.
"I love Latrell," Tedesco said.
"I love playing with Latrell. He's a fiery player, he plays the game in that manner. He wants to be dominant.
"He's just got to be careful with it I guess, he's got in trouble with it before making contact with the head and it's happened again.
"He's got to learn a lesson from that. He's got to find that balance of not overstepping that line.
"You don't want to be breaking people's faces. It sucks for him because he now misses out on the rest of the year, I'm sure he didn't want that either.
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"It's on him to learn from it. You don't want to miss any footy from suspensions.
"Seeing guys like [Roosters teammate Victor] Radley has missed plenty of games through suspension. It kills him and it kills the team because you let the boys down."
Rookie Rabbitohs fullback Blake Taafe is expected to replace Mitchell for South Sydney's lead-in to the finals, while the Roosters are hopeful veteran centre Josh Morris will be available for Thursday's clash with Canberra.
Backline utility Adam Keighran is due back from concussion to offer another option out wide.
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If Morris is given the green light to return from a hamstring tear, he and Kieghran coming back would allow playmaker Lachlan Lam to shift from the centres as forwards Angus Crichton (suspension) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee) also return.
Asked if Morris was right to return, Tedesco said: "He's been training really well for the past four or five weeks and he looks ready to go.
"I think he's still got to do a few strength tests to make sure it's all ready to go. It's pretty touch and go with hammies, especially at his age he wants to make sure its ripe and ready to go."
The sixth-placed Roosters' inferior for-and-against record means they are unlikely to earn a top-four finish unless both Manly and the Eels lose in the final round.