The Melbourne Storm are set to lose their second starting half in the opening three weeks of the season after Jahrome Hughes was slapped with a grade two dangerous contact charge.
Starting alongside try-scoring rookie Jonah Pezet, Hughes was penalised just minutes into the Storm's 38-34 loss to the Titans after making dangerous contact with Tanah Boyd.
Standing at marker, the Melbourne half rushed up to apply kick pressure to Boyd on the last tackle, dropping his shoulder into the Gold Coast halfback whilst in mid-air, and giving away a penalty and two points in the process.
Hughes will miss one game with an early guilty plea, or risk extending it another match if the halfback fails in contesting it at the judiciary.
Luckily for the Storm, five-eighth Cameron Munster is due back next weekend from the gruesome finger injury sustained against Parramatta in the season opener, and will likely start alongside Pezet.
While it's the only suspension stemming from the three Saturday matches, a whopping six players have been fined.
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was charged with a grade one shoulder charge on Elisea Katoa, Justin Olam earned a $750 careless high tackle charge during his return match, while David Fifita will be forced to pay $1,000 for grade one dangerous contact on Harry Grant.
The trio's fines will swell if they they contest and fail in front of the tribunal.
Marata Niukore and Te Maire Martin were both hit with grade one dangerous contact charges, Niukore for an incident with Reece Robson in the opening minutes while Martin tripped Jordan McLean in the first-half.
The duo will pay $1,000 and $750 respectively with early guilty pleas.
The final and most serious charge of the match however came from a Cowboys' star, with Jeremiah Nanai slapped with his third grade one dangerous contact charge of late, meaning an early guilty plea will set him back $3,000.
It's highly unlikely that the back-rower will contest it, with a failed attempt turning the monetary penalty into a two-match ban, a price the Cowboys can't afford coming off consecutive losses, especially with Peta Hiku and Scott Drinkwater also suspended.
All players have until Monday to make a decision on their plea.
I am all for protecting the kicker, I think we can all agree seen much worse go unpunished but happy also to agree got to start somewhere so suspend him. But surely Tino has something to answer for no eyes on the shoulder driven to the head = Fine? Needs to be fair and equitable, if it’s a shoulder charge with intent = suspension too…surely.
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