Joseph Manu will sit out the highly anticipated Grand Final rematch against Melbourne Storm this weekend.
In what is a devastating blow to the Roosters, Manu failed in his appeal to have his one-match ban overturned, following a crusher tackle on the Cronulla Sharks’ Siona Katoa.
Speaking at the NRL Judiciary last night, Manu’s lawyer, Patrick Knowles, said that the 22-year-old applied no additional force when he tried to re-grip his arm around Katoa’s neck. Knowles said that the Roosters centre even showed a duty of care towards Katoa by not completing the tackle.
However, NRL Counsel Anthony Lo Surdo said Manu had put Katoa in an uncomfortable position in which he was unable to move his head or neck, and that his discomfort upon receiving the tackle was evident.
Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake also remains suspended, with the Sea Eagle failing to overturn his two-match ban for his high tackle on Mitchell Pearce, which caused Pearce to miss the rest of the game.
Speaking at the judiciary, Fonua-Blake argued that the injury sustained to Pearce could have been even worse had he not stuck his arm out in an attempt to make the tackle.
Fonau-Blake also stated that he tried to go for Pearce’s torso, but simply only had half a second to react. The imposing figure tried to “put on the brakes”, but there wasn’t enough time.
“I held my arm out and attempted to make a tackle – not a shoulder charge,” the 23-year-old told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Renown lawyer Nick Ghabar, who represented Fonua-Blake, argued that the situation was out of the Tongan’s control.
“He’s not superhuman, he just couldn’t get out of the way … there was nothing he could do to avoid some sort of collision,” Ghabar said.
With his presence set to be missed on field over the next two weekends, Sea Eagles’ captain Daly Cherry-Evans said his off-field presence and encouragement will be undoubted.
“It will be disappointing not to have him out there, but he’ll make his presence felt around training. He’s animated and wears his heart on his sleeve, and you can never discourage someone when they play with that passion.”
Manly’s next two matches are against St George Illawarra and at home against Canberra.