NSW Rugby League chairman and practising doctor George Peponis has called for NRL referees to have the power to order concussion tests for players.

Three clubs were handed fines totalling $350,000 following last weekend's matches, after the league claimed they failed to remove potentially-dazed players for head checks.

Under newly-tightened laws, players must be taken from the field for a head injury assessment if they are slow to rise from knocks.

And Peponis, who is still practising as a doctor 35 years after his league playing career finished, said referees should have the power to send players for a test.

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"If he is alerted to it, he should make the call," Peponis said. "It would take it right out, so that way there's no controversy or anything.

"Quite often the game goes on, the referee doesn't actually see that the guy is lying on the ground. But if he does, he should act."

Peponis holds a rare position in the game. A former Australian captain in 1979 and 1980, he has played medical roles for the Sydney Swans in the AFL and semi- professional Sydney football club, Apia Leichardt. He remains as chairman of the Canterbury Leagues Club, having stepped away from the same role at the Bulldogs' NRL club in 2009.

His services to the game, along with those of Roosters and Souths chairmen Nick Politis and Nick Pappas, were recognised at a Hellenic Club lunch in Sydney on Thursday.

St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust told media at the lunch there was a risk doctors could be lost to the sport with the scrutiny placed on them by the NRL.

But Peponis said added reserves meant there was less pressure placed on doctors now by clubs, than when he was playing.

"Despite sometimes some pressures or influences from coaches, I think the doctors are strong enough and should be strong enough to make the decision," he said. "And if they're not, they shouldn't be there."

The Dragons are facing a A$100,000 fine after they failed to bring Josh Dugan off the field for a concussion check last week.

In that instance, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen said he told referees Dugan should go off, but was informed they were powerless to act.

The Dragons are yet to to confirm if they will fight their fine, while Newcastle and the Gold Coast have indicated they will challenge their A$100,000 and A$150,000 sanctions respectively.

The fines are the heaviest handed down for concussion-related incidents, but Peponis said a message had to be sent.

"It will certainly make people wake up and do the right thing," he said. "It's probably harsher than some of the other penalties for other offences. But if you try to set an example and make sure that everyone tows the line, then I think it will do that."AAP