Canberra forward Iosia Soliola, who has been at the centre of the non-send-off furore in recent days, has been handed a five-match suspension by the judiciary for his late and high tackle that left Melbourne fullback Billy Slater unconscious on Saturday night.
Referred straight to the panel for making dangerous contact to the head and neck, Soliola’s defence argued that the tackle was careless rather than reckless.
But the panel accepted the judiciary counsel’s contention that Soliola had ample time to pull out of the tackle.
The Storm’s medical report – which declared Slater was unconscious before he hit the ground and was out cold for more than a minute – also played a key role in the verdict.
— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) July 25, 2017
Soliola will return in Round 26, ironically against the Storm, and while disappointed the Kiwi and Samoa international was gracious and apologetic after receiving his punishment.
“I’d like to thank the NRL for giving me a fair hearing,” Soliola said.
“Obviously it’s pretty disappointing losing five weeks, but I respect and accept the punishment that has been passed on.
“Apologies to everyone who was affected by this, especially Billy and his family and the Melbourne Storm, as well as our own fans at the Canberra Raiders.
“I know this has put a bad light on our game and I love this game because it’s given me so much. I’m going to do the best I can to support this game and build the good image it’s supposed to be.”
Kudos to Sia Soliola. Spoke of love for game and making amends for damage he caused. A lot of players leave talking to CEO or coach. @NRL
— Adam Hawse (@AdamHawse) July 25, 2017
— Jen Browning (@jen_browning) July 25, 2017