When you take on the big guns, you need the heavy artillery.
For that reason Canterbury are breathing a sigh of relief after Frank “The Tank” Pritchard was exonerated by the NRL judiciary, clearing him for Friday’s do-or-die semi-final with the Sydney Roosters.
Pritchard, all 195cms and 125kgs of him, will be a valuable addition to Des Hasler’s side as their season goes on the line against the minor premiers at Allianz Stadium.
The 31-yaer-old was on Tuesday night cleared of kneeing St George Illawarra playmaker Gareth Widdop in the back.
The three-man judiciary panel of Bronson Harrison, Mal Cochrane and Sean Garlick took just 13 minutes to find him not guilty of a grade one dangerous contact charge.
He was facing a one-game suspension but will now be free for Friday’s elimination clash against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
He was cited for an incident in which he fell on Widdop during the Bulldogs’ thrilling 11-10 golden point victory on Saturday.
His defence cousel Nick Ghabar successfully argued he slipped after stepping on Widdop’s foot and connected with his upper leg rather than his knee.
Pritchard told the hearing that because he was running at full speed to gather a loose ball, a collision was inevitable and any contact was accidental.
The verdict was a big win for Hasler with Prtichard in some of the best form of his career.
He has often been one of the Bulldogs’ best in the back half of the season and his big frame will be needed against a strong Roosters pack.
“Frankie’s been a huge part of this club for the last number of years,” skipper James Graham said on Monday.
“I know it gets thrown around a little bit but he’s probably in the form of his career.”