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Leilua to escape ban for punch

NZN 5/03/2017 Steve Zemek

Canberra's Joey Leilua has avoided a NRL suspension for throwing a punch at North Queensland second-rower Gavin Cooper.

Leilua was stung with a $1500 fine, reduced to $1350 with an early guilty plea, after being charged with contrary conduct by the match review committee.

Cooper was left fuming after the referees missed Leilua throwing a punch in the midst of a 55th-minute melee during the Cowboys' nailbiting win on Saturday in Townsville.

Cooper claimed Leilua caught him square on the chin and was disappointed he wasn't marched to the sin bin.

Melbourne's Will Chambers became the first player to receive a fine under the revamped judiciary system for his punch on Canterbury's David Klemmer on Friday night.

Canberra prop Clay Priest is set to miss a week for his crusher tackle on Justin O'Neill. He will sit out next week's clash with Cronulla even with an early guilty plea.

Sydney Roosters forward Mitchell Aubusson will be free to play next week if he accepts an early guilty plea for a dangerous throw on Gold Coast's Ryan James.

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