Hodgson to avoid ban for grapple tackle

Josh Hodgson will escape suspension for a grapple tackle on Melbourne’s Jesse Bromwich that saw rugby league immortal Andrew Johns label it a “cheap shot”.

The Canberra No.9 was hit with a grade-one dangerous conduct charge from the match review committee on Tuesday, after he twisted the head of Bromwich in the 17th minute of the Raiders’ 22-8 win on Monday night

However given the sanction only carries a lowly points penalty, he will be free to play Parramatta on Sunday if he takes an early guilty plea.

Hodgson wasn’t put on report by referee Matt Cecchin, but that didn’t stop Johns from calling out the English international to be banned.

“He’s used his head as a can opener there,” Johns said of Hodgson on Triple M’s commentary.

“That was a real cheap shot, because his arms are wrapped up he had to hold the ball and couldn’t defend himself. He should get suspended for that.”

Hodgson post-game described the tackle as a “brain explosion” that gifted the Storm two points, and conceded that the ensuing replays did him no favours.

But he rejected the notion that it was deliberate.

“There was no malice in that. I was just trying to slow the play-the-ball down,” he said.

“Everyone has a bit of a brain explosion, that was me giving away a silly penalty. I’ve seen the replay, it didn’t look great.”

The avoidance of a suspension also keeps Hodgson in the Dally M race, which had him just two points behind leaders Cameron Smith, Ryan James and Cooper Cronk when voting went behind closed doors in round 16.

He has been one of the Raiders’ best in their push to third spot on the table this season.

Meanwhile Bromwich himself escaped being charged for a `prowler’ tackle, where he drove his shoulder into the back of a stationary Joey Leilua while he was being held up in a tackle.

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