NRL Rd 6 - Panthers v Storm
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 19: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers celebrates after scoring a field goal during the round six NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Melbourne Storm at Campbelltown Stadium on June 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers' star Nathan Cleary has been cleared to play in the NRL grand final.

Despite being placed on report by referee Gerard Sutton for a dangerous lifting tackle on Saturday afternoon against the Melbourne Storm, Cleary has escaped a charge.

The tackle appeared to lift Melbourne Storm second-rower Kenneath Bromwich above the horizontal before he was dumped onto the ground with Cleary lifting and driving from the legs of Bromwich.

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The decision not to charge Cleary will allow him to play in the grand final, but will be controversial given Manly Sea Eagles' enforcer Josh Aloiai is facing a delayed start to 2022 for a similar tackle.

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Aloiai was hit with a Grade 2 charge from Friday's preliminary final loss to the Manly Sea Eagles and will miss three matches with an early guilty plea, or four if he fights and loses.

There is yet more good news for the Panthers out of the match review committee report, with James Fisher-Harris and Stephen Crichton also cleared to play in the grand final.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 17: James Fisher-Harris of the Panthers reacts after a Rabbitohs error during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Both were hit with Grade 1 charges, Fisher-Harris for dangerous contact, and Crichton for contrary conduct, but will both escape with just fines for the minor nature of the offence, and their prior clean records throughout the 2021 season.

The Panthers will still be waiting on injury news for Jarome Luai among others, however, now appear almost certain to be close to full strength for the grand final, which will be played at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, October 3 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.



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