The Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors are set to follow South Sydney's lead and argue that Brandon Smith and Reece Walsh's respective one-week suspensions have been served given both missed selection for the NRL All-Stars game in Sydney earlier this month.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, both clubs now believe there is precedent to argue their stance as Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell had the end date for his suspension brought forward by a week after failing to lace the boots for the Indigenous All-Stars.
Following the cessation of Souths' 2021 season, Mitchell still had three weeks remaining on his ban dealt out for a high shot on Sydney's Joey Manu, but with this latest alteration made by the judiciary on Tuesday, the fullback is now free to face the Storm in Round 2.
Although both Smith and Walsh's suspensions arose due to differing circumstances, their respective clubs believe that the dual Māori representatives should now be free to return to action earlier than expected.
Should the Storm prove successful in following the Bunnies' lead, Smith's single-week suspension for his role in the white-powder scandal would be wiped with the rake then free to face the Tigers in Round 1.
In the Warriors' camp, Walsh's comeback would then be made in Round 2 against the Titans.
While the 19-year-old was also facing a ban handed down after an off-field indiscretion, Walsh's choice to engage in contrary conduct during the Kiwi franchise's 44-0 loss against Gold Coast last season saw him slapped with a two-week ban.
According to Adrian Proszenko's report, Warriors CEO Cameron George is seeking to speak with NRL boss Andrew Abdo today about the prospect of shaving the Queenslander's suspension.
“If we now count the All-Stars game, he should only have to serve one NRL game,” George said.
“If they are going to be consistent with the judicial findings after the judicial decision yesterday, and it’s crucially important that the game is … it needs to be addressed very quickly."
The suit then went on to explain the differences between Walsh's dual bans.
“We’re dealing with two different penalties; one imposed by the judiciary with the ability to review and amend, and then we’re dealing one which Andrew Abdo imposed himself," Cameron continued.
“I assume Andrew would have the discretion to review and revisit his penalties.”
The Storm and Warriors are set to face the Knights and Titans respectively.
The two expansion sides met last week in Cranbourne, with the visitors running out 30-18 victors.