Andrew Fifita’s excellent start to the NRL season is set to be put on hold for at least a month after he was slapped with a grade three dangerous throw charge by the code’s match review committee on Monday.
Fifita was placed on report by referee Ashley Klein after Newcastle hooker Adam Clydesdale was lifted above the horizontal and flung onto his back in Friday’s win over the Knights at Remondis Stadium.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan admitted after the game the incident didn’t look good and was expecting action to be taken against his player.
“He’s such a big powerful thing, Wade Graham was in the tackle as well and fell off and he (Clydesdale) landed on his back,” Flanagan said on Friday.
“If it was my player I would be concerned as well. It’s one of those things in our game we don’t want to see, but it happens.
“A big man tackles a smaller man and technique-wise it goes wrong. It’s bad luck.”
Fifita will miss four games with an early plea and six if he decides to fight the charge on Wednesday night and loses.
A suspension will be a big blow to both the Sharks and the 25-year-old whose performances this season have been close to those he displayed in 2013 when he was selected for both NSW and the Kangaroos.
Injury and a dip in form saw him dropped by both Blues coach Laurie Daley and Test supremo Tim Sheens last year – a suspension would rule him out of the Kangaroos side to face New Zealand in Brisbane on May 1 and the City-Country clash in Wagga Wagga on May 3.
Fifita was one of 10 players charged on Monday with St George Illawarra backrower Tyson Frizell set for a two-week spell on the sidelines for the ugly swinging arm that knocked out Canterbury’s Tim Browne on Sunday.
The Welsh international will miss two games with a guilty plea for an incident that has been deemed a grade five offence.
Gold Coast forward Eddy Pettybourne will serve a week-long ban for a careless high tackle on Parramatta’s Darcy Lussick if he accepts a grade one charge.
Lussick’s teammates Manu Ma’u and Nathan Peats, Warriors pair Ryan Hoffman and Sam Lisone and Manly’s Jamie Buhrer were all issued with grade one dangerous throw charges but will be free to play this weekend if they plead guilty.
Sydney Roosters prop Sam Moa will be available for selection for Saturday’s clash with Melbourne if he accepts a grade one careless high tackle charge.
Brisbane’s Jarrod Wallace was also sanctioned for dangerous contact on Roosters forward Kane Evans but won’t miss any action with an early plea.