James Tamou's career will continue for at least one more game after he was successful in downgrading his charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday evening.
Tamou took the early guilty plea for an incident of dissent during the Tigers' 72 points to 6 beatdown at the hands of the Sydney Roosters on Saturday evening, but decided to challenge the grading of the decision.
Tamou was hit with a Grade 3 contrary conduct charge from the judiciary on Sunday morning, which for a first offence carries a two-match penalty with it - and given there are only two matches remaining in the season, Tamou's season would have been finished.
He elected to go to the judiciary seeking a downgrade to Grade 2 - a penalty which leaves him eligible for a one-match ban and a final match in Round 25. The judiciary ultimately found that the Grade 2 charge fit the offence.
The match, played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, saw the Roosters exit the venue for the final time as their permanent home ground in emphatic circumstances, but the loss for the Tigers was soured even further by Tamou labelling referee Cummins "incompetent" late in the contest.
Tamou hasn't been offered a contract for the 2023 season with the Wests Tigers and the 304-gamer is unlikely to land one anywhere else in the competition, bringing the curtain down on his NRL career.
Tamou has shown plenty of remorse for his actions and said on Tuesday evening during the hearing that he "can't watch it".
"At that time it was emotions from what happened prior, not thinking straight and mind clouded. Just a complete blow-up," Tamou said.
"100% spare of the moment, on the run, I was not thinking straight. I know I’m guilty, I don’t condone this behaviour. I’m very remorseful towards Ben Cummins. I respect referees very much.
"In 300 games I’ve played I don’t think I’ve ever sworn at a referee. I know their job is hard enough at it is. I understand that and I'm remorseful after the game."
The prop admitted that the score of the game impacted his emotions.
"The score of the game has really affected where my emotions are at this point," Tamou said.
"Not thinking right but emotional wise just that hot-headedness and feeling nothing is going our way."
In prosecuting, NRL counsel Lachlan Gyles said there were incidents throughout the game indicating Tamou wasn't happy with the officiating, and also said his prior clean record shouldn't be taken into account.
"Even the best referees make decisions people don’t agree with. As a highly decorated NRL player you know that things in life don’t go your way, that’s sport isn’t it?," Gyles said.
"The game’s been good to you. The truth is what you did on the weekend is a long way away from how you usually play the game.
"It's detrimental to the NRL and not in the spirits of the game. It sends a wrong message to players at all levels."