Cronulla’s minor premiership ambitions could be thrown into disarray with star James Maloney facing a three-game ban for a dangerous tackle.
The NRL match review committee has hit the Sharks five-eighth with a grade two dangerous contact charge for his 88th-minute tackle on Titans centre Konrad Hurrell during their 18-18 draw on Monday night.
He can cop a two-game suspension with an early guilty plea.
Maloney wrapped his arms around the left leg of a standing Hurrell before bringing the former Warriors star down by driving his shoulder into the back of his leg in a delayed cannon-ball type tackle.
An upset Hurrell stayed down, allowing the bunker to review the incident, however the tackle went unpenalised and he was ordered to play the ball.
Maloney, who played with the Hurrell at the Warriors in 2012, said his former teammate admitted trying to milk a penalty when they spoke at fulltime.
“I actually started getting worried for him, obviously knowing him,” Maloney told Triple M NRL.
“I actually thought, `I hope he hasn’t done anything’. He comes over to me afterwards and goes, `They didn’t give me a penalty’.
“He’s a rat, mate.”
The grade two charge carries a 250-point base penalty, however a non-similar offence for Maloney in the past two years bumped up the charge to 300 points.
The Sharks’ final five games are against Canberra (home), St George Illawarra (away), South Sydney (away), the Sydney Roosters (home) and Melbourne (away).
The Sharks, who are one point ahead of Melbourne at the top of the ladder, have until midday Wednesday to decide whether to fight the charge.