Cronulla star Andrew Fifita is free to play in the NRL finals, if the Sharks qualify, after copping a six-match suspension and $30,000 fine for abusing a referee.
The back-dated ban means Fifita will be available for the first week of the finals, after being stood down prior to the Sharks’ win over the Warriors last weekend.
Fifita will also be required to perform 25 hours of community service to support junior rugby league as punishment for his abuse of the referee, last month, at a match administered by Penrith and District Junior Rugby League.
The former Kangaroo and NSW representative will also undergo an anger management course and send a written apology to the officials involved.
Andrew’s brother David, who was also a party to the incident, has been banned for six games.
Sharks boss Lyall Gorman said Andrew was hit with the extra punishment of the fine because of a history of off-field issues.
“This is hopefully a line in the sand that makes a strong statement about the ideals and image of the game, the fundamental and vital role match officials play in the NRL’s and our club’s view that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable in the code,” Gorman said.
“Both boys have expressed genuine and serious remorse about the incident. Things got out of hand and they didn’t react to it well. It’s not a look and feel for the game we endorse.”