MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15: Mitchell Barnett and Tim Glasby of the Knights tackle Jahrome Hughes of the Storm during the round 14 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Newcastle Knights at AAMI Park on June 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Newcastle lock Mitchell Barnett will be sidelined for at least the next three games due to a third grade dangerous contact charge incurred in his side’s 34-4 loss to Melbourne.

An early guilty plea would rule out Barnett for the minimum penalty of a three-match ban, which would render him eligible to return in round 18 against the Roosters, but this will extend by a further two games if he unsuccessfully challenges the ruling, forcing him out of action until round 20.

The Knights currently sit fifth on the ladder at 7-6, and will face the Broncos after the Origin break.