The Warriors are relieved to have Ben Matulino on deck to face Melbourne this weekend, with coach Andrew McFadden admitting he was surprised the prop was cited for a shoulder charge.
Matulino caught the NRL judiciary’s attention for a hit on winger Corey Oates in the 25-10 loss to Brisbane last Friday night.
The 23-Test Kiwi opted to enter a not guilty plea, risking a four-match suspension, but won his case at a hearing on Wednesday night.
His defence team argued that he was bracing for contact and the involvement of a second tackler meant he couldn’t properly wrap his arms around Oates.
The result means Matulino will take his place against the Storm in Auckland on Sunday as the Warriors look to turn around an 0-2 start to the season as well as snap a 10-match losing streak.
“It’s certainly a bonus,” McFadden said.
“We thought we had a pretty good case to get him off and obviously that has been proven.”
He was surprised Matulino was cited in the first place because he didn’t think there was much in the tackle.
He could understand the NRL wanting to clean up the game, including taking out the shoulder charge.
But he said rugby league was still a full contact game and incidents would happen, and believed the judiciary should look at the weighting that they gave to some of the charges.
“For Ben to face four weeks on that tackle is not what the judiciary is there for,” McFadden said.
“It’s there to do deal with incidents of real foul play.”