MACKAY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Matt Lodge of the Warriors is tackled during the round 24 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at BB Print Stadium, on August 27, 2021, in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

New Zealand Warriors' prop Matt Lodge will be free to play the final game of the regular season after being cleared by the NRL judiciary.

The Warriors, who play the Titans this weekend, will look to close their season on a high despite not being able to make the finals, and will have Lodge to do it after assistant coach Justin Morgan served as Lodge's defence counsel.

Lodge was facing a two-game ban for a hip drop tackle on Joe Tapine from last week's narrow loss to the Canberra Raiders which ended the Warriors' unlikely charge at the finals.

It would have ended his season, and been the third time he was suspended this season. He previously missed Round 12 for the Broncos, and Rounds 20, 22 and 23 following his move to the Warriors.

The judiciary panel of Sean Garlick, Tony Puletua and Dallas Johnson were convinced by Morgan that Lodge ended up being put in an awkward position.

"Being the defensive coach, I thought it was best to sit here with Matt … and let you know where we think the tackle went wrong," Morgan told the panel.

"Joe Tapine beats Matthew and he's holding on for dear life," Morgan said.

"We certainly don't think that Tapine's momentum was stopped because of [Lodge's] contact.

"The contact was stopped because he was twisted.

"If it was [Lodge's] grip that brought him down, he would have brought him down five or six steps earlier.

"There's no way a player can bring down a player of Joe Tapine's athletic ability with his hands.

"The twisting motion at some point of the tackle has sandwiched him underneath."

Lodge using his assistant coach in the proceedings is the second time a club official has been used this year, with Ivan Cleary recently defending Apisai Koroisau at the judiciary in a failed bid to stop the Penrith hooker having a week off.

Lodge has spent three weeks out for the Warriors during what can only be described as a mass injury crisis, with Leeson Ah Mau flying home and joining other injured props Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan and Tohu Harris.

This weekend's game between the Titans and Warriors, to be played on the Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon, is must-win for the Titans if they are to have a chance at making the finals.

Even with a win however, the Titans will still need the Sharks and Raiders to lose, and have a for and against turnaround with the Sharks of at least 24 points.