The NRL has delivered on its promise to crack down on the shoulder charge by laying hefty charges on the Warriors’ Ben Matulino and Manly’s Willie Mason.
On a busy day for the match review committee, ten players attracted charges.
Of most interest was the MRC’s interpretation of the tightened shoulder charge laws after the governing body last week guaranteed automatic charges for no-arm tackles, even if there was no forceful movement of the head or neck.
And the match review committee kept up its end of the bargain on Monday, with Matulino facing up to five weeks on the sidelines for his grade two hit on St George-Illawarra’s Gareth Widdop.
He’ll miss just three games with an early guilty plea.
Mason has only been pinged with a grade one shoulder charge on South Sydney’s Thomas Burgess, however the base penalty of 200 points – together with a 50 per cent loading for similar offence – means he could be outed for three games.
An early guilty plea reduces the penalty to a two-game ban.
Retiring Brisbane skipper Justin Hodges and the Rabbitohs’ Glenn Stewart are the other two high-profile stars that could be missing for their respective teams this weekend.
Hodges was only busted for a grade one careless high tackle on Canterbury’s Brett Morris, but his 31 carryover points means he’ll sit out Friday’s date with the Dragons unless he successfully fights the charge.
If guilty Stewart will also cop a week off for his grade one careless high tackle on Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai.
Cronulla’s Sam Tagataese and Melbourne’s Nelson Asofa-Solomona are in danger of missing that match-up.
Tagataese faces a week out for applying dangerous contact on North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston, while Asofa-Solomona also drew a one-game charge for dangerous contact on Gold Coast’s Lachlan Burr.