Pauli to escape NRL ban for Soward hit

Parramatta forward Pauli Pauli is set to avoid suspension for his late hit on Penrith playmaker Jamie Soward despite being cited by the NRL match review committee on Monday.

League great Andrew Johns led renewed calls for the game to do more to protect playmakers, describing Pauli’s hit that forced Soward from the field on Friday night a “cheap shot”.

Soward later returned to the field but may be out for a month with a shoulder injury sustained by the hit.

However, Pauli will avoid a ban with an early plea after being cited for a grade one dangerous contact charge on Monday.

The charge’s grading and Pauli’s previous good record ensures he avoids suspension with an early plea.

Gold Coast forward Ryan James will also escape suspension with an early plea after also being charged with grade one dangerous contact for his heavy contact that knocked out South Sydney captain Greg Inglis on Saturday.

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