Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has slammed the NRL judiciary system which he claims made it too risky for the Knights to try and save Kade Snowden's 2013 season.
Knights prop Snowden on Tuesday grudgingly accepted a seven-match ban for a shoulder charge which left North Queensland hooker Ray Thompson with a broken jaw.
Bennett said the risk of adding another two weeks to the ban by challenging the grading was too great - forcing the Knights into a suspension which prematurely ended Snowden's season.
"Obviously you are going to do nine weeks if you lose, so seven weeks is tough enough without putting another two on and there is no guarantees," Bennett told reporters.
"It was Kade's decision in the end and he knew the club was right behind him if he wanted to go the extra two weeks and take that risk.
"He would have finished up with five anyway so we thought he was better off taking the seven than having to do the nine."
Depending on how deep the Knights go into the NRL finals series, the ban could impact Snowden's ability to represent Italy at the World Cup.
Newcastle would need to make the grand final for Snowden to play in Italy's opening game against Tonga on November 10.
The Knights were clearly aggrieved at having to take the early plea, but having been burnt once this year by the NRL judiciary, the club wasn't prepared to again take the risk.
Backrower Jeremy Smith missed six matches when he contested a head slam charge in round six, having been offered a four-week ban with an early guilty plea.
Bennett said the current system offered too much incentive to players to take early pleas.
"The unfairness with the system is not about crying over spilt milk," Bennett said.
"The unfairness with the system is Kade can't go down there and defend that position because if we defend that and lose it, we get another penalty.
"Blokes have got to have the right to defend themselves."
Bennett claimed Snowden's actions were not malicious, with Thompson's injury an unfortunate result of a collision.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley didn't believe the charge was in line with others handed down this year.
"While we have decided to take the early plea, we are adamant the grading is excessive and inconsistent with all other gradings throughout the course of the year," Gidley said.
"We are confused as to what the match review considered in their grading, given they have deemed this the worst shoulder charge of the year by two grades.
"If this is now the standard for a send off and grading, will be watching closely to ensure it is enforced consistently."
Canterbury prop Frank Pritchard won't play again until the finals after entering a guilty plea and receiving a two-match ban for his shoulder charge on South Sydney centre Bryson Goodwin.
Meanwhile, Cronulla centre Ben Pomeroy is facing a possible one-match ban after being cited for a dangerous throw on Sydney Roosters' fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck late in the Sharks' upset win over the ladder-leaders on Monday night.
Pomeroy has until midday (AEST) Wednesday to decide whether to contest the charge, though he still faces a one-game ban with an early plea.