Cronulla v St George - NRL Trial Match
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: Aiden Tolman of the Sharks looks on from the sideline during the NRL Trial Match between the Cronulla Sharks and the St George Illawarra Dragons at PointsBet Stadium on February 12, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Cronulla prop Aiden Tolman has officially accepted an early guilty plea, meaning he will sit out of this week's clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

It's a game the Sharks can ill-afford to lose as the club desperately fight for a spot in the top eight.

Given their own form and that the Bulldogs came incredibly close to knocking over the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday evening, it's something of a danger game for the Sharks, who currently sit eighth, but just two points ahead of the 13th-placed North Queensland Cowboys. The table is an absolute logjam in the middle, with 7th through 14th separated by just six points, and every game now proving critical.

Tolman's early guilty plea comes for a Grade 1 careless high tackle charge in the 56th minute of the Sharks' loss to the Raiders. It carries a 175-point base penalty, reduced to 140. Tolman's 35 carry over points meant if he fought and lost, the base penalty would have taken him into the two-week suspension range.

The 222-game NRL veteran has been immense for the Sharks this year, providing them an engine room in the middle third of the field.

All Run Metres
Tackle Breaks

Not only is he a consistent force, but Tolman also plays monstrous minutes for the Sharks, normally north of an hour per game. It's a feat very few middle third players are able to achieve.

Tolman will now return for the Round 20 clash against the Manly Sea Eagles, one of only two in their last six against other teams currently in the top eight, giving Josh Hannay's side one of the competition's easiest runs to the finish line and finals footy.