Parramatta forward Pauli Pauli has avoided suspension for his late hit on Penrith playmaker Jamie Soward after submitting an early guilty plea.
Pauli was handed a grade-one dangerous contact charge by the NRL match review committee on Monday for the hit that forced Soward from the field in the Eels’ 26-20 defeat of the Panthers on Friday night.
League great Andrew Johns described the 20-year-old’s action a “cheap shot” as he led renewed calls for the game to do more to protect playmakers.
Soward later returned to the field but may be out for a month with a shoulder injury sustained in the hit.
The charge’s low grading coupled with Pauli’s previous good record ensures he escapes a ban, making him available for Parramatta’s home clash with North Queensland next Monday.
Gold Coast forward Ryan James also avoided suspension with an early plea following his grade-one dangerous contact charge for his high heavy contact that knocked out South Sydney captain Greg Inglis on Saturday.