Matt Scott blasted "weak" Mitch Garbutt for his "cheap shot" on North Queensland Cowboys' James Tamou during Sunday's World Club Challenge meeting with Leeds Rhinos.
Late in the second half of the game at Headingley - which saw the Cowboys run out 38-4 victors - Tamou gave his tackler Keith Galloway a slap to the face after playing the ball.
Garbutt retaliated on behalf of hs Rhinos team-mate, punching Tamou with a fierce right hook that knocked the Cowboys man to the ground.
He was consequently shown a red card for and is likely to face a lengthy ban and Cowboys co-captain Scott was far from impressed.
"It was bit of a cheap shot," he said.
"He [Tamou] wasn't looking at him [Garbutt], he was looking at Keith [Galloway]. I haven't seen it in the NRL because we've stamped down on it.
"That sort of stuff, I don't think it's tough. It's pretty weak to punch someone in the face when they're not looking at you. It was pretty ordinary.
"Rugby league is a tough game and I suppose we don't want to see the toughness taken out of it.
"Stuff like that - there's so much research on it. In rugby league, we've seen how a punch can kill advertising and stuff like that. There's other ways to be tough. I think it's a good move that we've got rid of it."