Billy Slater has been cleared to play for the Melbourne Storm in the Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters after successfully challenging his shoulder-charge suspension.
Slater was charged by the match review committee following the Storm’s preliminary final win over the Cronulla Sharks after making a tackle on Sharks winger Sosaia Feki which looked to be a shoulder charge.
The charge resulted in a one-game suspension, so Slater and Storm decided to challenge the ruling in attempt to allow him to play in the Grand Final.
During the hearing, Slater claimed that at all times he was trying to get himself between the ball and the try-line, including wrapping his arm around the attacker.
Slater argued that Feki changed his angle at the last moment which caused the collision to appear like a shoulder charge and the outcome was the safest possible contact for both players.
The NRL counsel was led by Anthony La Surdo with the main argument being that Slater made no attempt wrap his arm around Feki.
The three man panel of Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane deliberated for what seemed an eternity after hearing both sides but in the end, Slater was cleared of any wrong doing and will line up at fullback on Sunday night.