Pearce said he was fine afterwards and just grateful the Knights bounced back to win and post their best start to a season since they went 6-0 in 2002.
“You cop knocks sometimes … there are no hard feelings,” Pearce said.
“His [Carrigan’s] intentions were to do the best for his team and put pressure on the halfback. Taking me out that late he’ll put his hand up and say it deserved a penalty, and that’s what we got.”
Knights coach Adam O’Brien said of the Pearce shot: “I didn’t get a good look at it, but I know he’s a tough bugger, and I was relieved when he stood up.”
O’Brien, who was seen taking out his frustrations on a Mt Franklin bottle inside the coach’s box during the first half, said it was also important his players respond after the tough loss to Melbourne at the same Central Coast venue just five days earlier.
Prop Daniel Saifiti ran for nearly 200m and his showdown in the middle with North Queenslanbd’s Jason Taumalolo next weekend will be a belter.
The Broncos are in a world of hurt.
What did not help Anthony Seibold’s troops was the fact they conceded eight penalties plus a whopping eight tackle re-starts.
NRL head of football Graham Annesley threatened at the start of the week there would be a crackdown – and even sin-binnings – in a bid to ensure the return of the fast football played in the first couple of weeks back from COVID-19.
Top referee Gerard Sutton certainly heeded Annesley’s advice.
The Broncos, however, were unlucky on one occasion when Jamayne Isaako was also sent to the bin midway through the first half for a professional foul.
Newcastle’s $4 million kid Kalyn Ponga had made a break and as he tried to play the ball Isaako held him down and was given his marching orders.
Ponga was fortunate he was not penalised himself for not even bothering to get to his feet.
The tactic of tackled players trying to get the fast play-the-ball while still on the ground has become just as big a blight on the game, according to Laurie Daley who wrote about the issue in a newspaper column just hours before kick-off.
Instead of getting the ball back, the Broncos slipped further behind when Hymel Hunt took a sideways kick from Kurt Mann to make it 12-0.
It did not cost them the game but it was proof little goes right when a team is struggling.
“It was frustrating, we made it really tough for ourselves. There was plenty of effort, particularly in the first half, but we gave away too many yardage penalties and [were] poor with completing our sets at different times. Good teams make you pay,” Seibold said.
“Individuals at different times aren’t doing their jobs. We didn’t build any pressure.”
One highlight for the visitors was seeing teen rookie sensation Xavier Coates pluck the ball out of the air and race 96 metres for an explosive intercept try.
Coates appeared to cover almost 100m in just under 11 seconds while slowing up just before the tryline. Brad Fittler likened Coates to Greg Inglis last week during the TV commentary, but he looked more Usain Bolt when in full flight.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.