Parramatta winger Reece Robinson and Manly prop Jake Trbojevic are free to play this weekend after successful hearings at the NRL judiciary.
Robinson had his grade two lifting tackle charge downgraded to a grade one offence and Trbojevic’s not guilty plea to a similar offence was backed by the three-man panel made up of Matt Cooper, Royce Ayliffe and Sean Garlick.
Former Canberra and Brisbane flyer Robinson was facing potentially three matches on the sideline had he lost his hearing after the match review committee ruled his lifting tackle on South Sydney’s Joel Reddy was dangerous.
Robinson pleaded guilty to a grade one offence and lawyer Murugan Thangaraj showed vision of four comparable clips of grade one offences he said were on par or worse than the one committed by the 30-year-old.
Thangaraj said Robinson’s Eels teammate Brad Takairangi, who pleaded no contest to a grade-one dangerous throw, was more to blame for the incident that led to Reddy being lifted above the horizontal.
“The flip occurred because of Takairangi and Reddy’s momentum,” he said.
“There was no injury to the player, no injury replacement used and that is relevant to the grading.”
Craig Everson for the NRL had earlier claimed the grading was correct because Reddy was unable to extend an arm to protect him when he fell and said there were no mitigating circumstances for the grading to be dropped from two to one.
The panel took just five minutes to find in favour of Robinson who said he was relieved after making a stellar start to his career with his new club having scored three tries in four games.
“It’s really good news and I am very pleased to be free to play the Tigers on Monday,” he said.
“We thought we had a good case and the team put together a very good argument and I would like to thank the panel for giving me a very fair hearing.”
Trbojevic wouldn’t have missed any games with a guilty plea to the grade one charge but risked missing Saturday’s clash with Canberra in Albury had he lost.
Everson argued the tackle on St George Illawarra’s Jason Nightingale in Wollongong on Saturday was worthy of a sanction.
However, Nick Ghabar, acting for Manly said there was no rule against lifting a players’ legs in the NRL and Trbojevic was only guilty of making a “very good tackle”.
“The tackle was a fair one that you see from every kick-chase in the NRL,” Ghabar said.
“It was legitimate, it disturbed player Nightingale’s balance and had he not turned in the tackle he would have landed on his back.
“He was also managed in the tackle in a careful position by player Trbojevic.”
The panel took less than three minutes to throw the case out.