Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield received the first red card of his illustrious 18-year career in the Super League draw with Castleford at Headingley.
Sinfield headbutted full-back Luke Dorn with eight minutes remaining, with the numerical advantage allowed the visitors to grab a late draw.
Coach Brian McDermott, whose side returned to the top of the table despite being held 24-24, said it was uncharacteristic of Sinfield – the six-time Super League winner.
"It's uncharacteristic isn't it? He's played hundreds and hundreds of games and Kev gets run at and gets singled out every time he plays because he's such an influential player but for one brief minute in all those hours, all those minutes that he's played he's just lost it," he told Sky Sports.
"He's just made an apology to the players in there and there is no-one hurting more than Kevin is at the moment. He's probably one of the most mentally strong blokes that I've ever known to have played the game.
"When it gets to the sharp end of the year it's those who can hold their nerve the most and kKev is an expert of at that. He will be disappointed in himself that he has breached that discipline that he's had for such a long time. What's that his first infringement ever?
"I don't think Dorn will be walking around with a bruised head for a long time, they've just touched heads, but it was the right call from the ref.
The 33 year old Sinfield could face an eight-game ban for the incident, which would see him miss the remainder of the regular season.