Angus Crichton and Francis Molo will both be free to line up in the opening games of the NRL season after having their suspensions altered by the judiciary.
Crichton was pinged with a two-game suspension during the Rugby League World Cup final against Samoa for an ugly incident against the now semi-retired Chanel Harris-Tavita.
Harris-Tavita had already made the call prior to the incident to take a year off rugby league.
Crichton was originally hit with a two-game suspension, however, the Rugby League World Cup judiciary ultimately halved that to a single game on appeal from Crichton's camp.
The star second-rower will now not miss any games of the NRL season though, with the NRL allowing Crichton to take his ban during the pre-season challenge. It will be served against the Melbourne Storm this weekend in Geelong, meaning he could ultimately return for the second week of the pre-season challenge.
Molo, on the other hand, still had two matches to serve on his four-match ban for a high tackle that saw him sent off during a match against the Gold Coast Titans at the back-end of 2022.
The St George Illawarra Dragons have however submitted a successful application to the NRL for those two matches to be counted as Samoan games at the Rugby League World Cup, as a number of other players did for various World Cup teams.
Molo played for Samoa during the mid-year Test against the Cook Islands and the Dragons made the submission that he would have been picked if not selected.
It means Molo will be free to play in Round 2 against the Gold Coast Titans after the Dragons start their season with a bye, while Crichton will be available for Round 1 against the Dolphins.
All of Ryan Matterson, Mat Croker, Taane Milne, Brian Kelly and Taylan May will start 2023 with suspensions.
More examples of the judiciary just finding new ways to let players off serving punishment for foul play.
With that attitude, it’s hardly surprising that Wighton and Mitchell haven’t even been stood down from a meaningless match.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is appalling.
Well as long as Molo was actually going to play for Samoa it’s fair, but if he was never going to be picked then it is a joke.
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