Warriors centre Ngani Laumape will miss the New Zealand Warriors’ next three matches after the club took an early guilty plea for his grade three dangerous throw charge. Laumape was put on report for an ugly tackle on Brisbane prop Josh McGuire during the Warriors’ 19-10 defeat of the Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 15.
“We certainly thought about it [contesting the grading], but the risk of challenging it and losing it would have meant five weeks for Ngani, and we would have only got him down to two weeks anyway,” Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said.
“I thought the grading was probably fair given the other tackles I have seen.”
While Laumape’s tackle was certainly a clumsy and dangerous effort – as evidenced in the video below – the grade three charge has again raised questions over the NRL judiciary’s consistency, following Josh Reynolds’ controversial successful downgrading of a dangerous throw charge stemming from the Origin series opener.
To the impartial observer, it is difficult to make a case that Reynolds’ highly-publicised tackle on Brent Tate was any less dangerous than Laumape’s costly attempt on McGuire:
Laumape has been in tremendous form in the Warriors’ devastating backline, and his absence is a blow to the enigmatic side’s burgeoning finals bid. The nuggetty 21-year-old has played in the Warriors’ last nine games at wing or centre, while he backed up a break to throw the last pass for Chad Townsend’s match-sealing try against the Broncos.
Former Queensland Origin three-quarter Dane Nielsen has been recalled in Laumape’s place after a five-week stay in NSW Cup, a selection certain to cause the majority of Warriors fans with considerable angst. Nielsen took a buffeting from the club’s supporters on social media after an error-riddled start to 2014, which belatedly saw him dropped following a Round 7 shocker against St George Illawarra.
Meanwhile, bullocking front-rower Suaia Matagi has escaped a ban after being charged with dangerous contact with the kicker; his challenge on Broncos halfback Ben Hunt incurred a grade one charge, but no suspension with the early guilty plea.
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