South Sydney star Issac Luke is facing suspension until the second week of the NRL finals after being charged by the match review committee in the latest blow for the stumbling defending premiers.
The hooker was cited on Friday for a shoulder charge on Brisbane’s Corey Oates as Souths were being humbled 47-12 at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.
Luke faces a two-week ban for an early guilty plea but it would be three weeks if he unsuccessfully contests the charge before the judiciary.
Brisbane’s Alex Glenn was charged with dangerous contact to the head of Souths halfback Adam Reynolds but he can escape a ban with an early guilty plea.
South Sydney’s title defence is unravelling fast.
Stand-in skipper Sutton suffered a suspected broken leg in Thursday night’s match.
Inspirational skipper Greg Inglis is unlikely to be fit to face the Sydney Roosters in the last round of the regular season at Allianz Stadium on Friday week after undergoing knee surgery earlier this week.
Depending on other results of the penultimate round the Rabbitohs could drop to as low as seventh on the premiership ladder by the end of the weekend.
They will need to beat the Roosters to have any chance of a top-four finish.
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire was hopeful rugby league’s greatest rivalry would bring out the best in his team.
“Yes I am, we are playing against another one of the best teams in the competition and we got kicked (by the Broncos) and we are hurting, next week we play against a team that has been playing well for some time,” he said.
“We spoke about that in the changeroom and I will keep that to us and how we go about it. All that matters is what happens in that 80 minutes so I guess we get to tell that story then.
“I know the capabilities of our team but we have to play to that and we have a longer turnaround and focus on our preparation moving into next week.
On the Luke tackle, Maguire said: “Obviously the rule is there and we will have to have a look at it and see how it goes.