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Taumalolo rubbed out for shoulder charge

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/03/2017 Steve Zemek

North Queensland's forward crisis has deepened after Jason Taumalolo was found guilty by the NRL judiciary of a shoulder charge, rubbing him out for two weeks.

Taumalolo pleaded not guilty to a grade one charge for a hit on Brisbane's Alex Glenn but was rubbed out for the next fortnight, on Tuesday night, and will miss the Cowboys' clashes with Manly and Gold Coast.

The Kiwi wrecking ball's loss will be sorely felt after co-captain Matt Scott was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

The suspension also all but squashes Taumalolo's chances of winning back-to-back Dally M Medals.

The 23-year-old, who was the co-winner of the game's highest individual honour alongside Cooper Cronk last year, will be deducted six points, effectively ruling him out of the running.

The judiciary panel of Bob Lindner, Sean Garlick and Tony Puletua took a little less than 30 minutes to deliberate on their verdict before finding Taumalolo guilty.

It was the first test of the NRL's shoulder charge rules after the interpretation was simplified in the wake of criticism and accusations of inconsistencies by the match review panel last year.

The NRL fine-tuned the laws to remove any mention of the arm being tucked. Under the new rules, a hit is considered a shoulder charge if a player does not attempt to use their arms (including his hands) and there is forceful contact.

NRL counsel Peter McGrath argued that Taumalolo satisfied both criteria under the interpretation - that he had made forceful contact and not attempted to wrap up the ball runner.

He pointed out that Glenn was knocked sideways by the impact and Taumalolo's left arm was tucked and his fist clenched as he braced himself.

"There is no attempt to wrap or grab hold," McGrath said.

Cowboys coach Paul Green, who represented Taumalolo via video link from Townsville, unsuccessfully argued that his No.13 showed a duty of care to Glenn and was trying to affect a tackle.

"It's a one-on-one tackle and you can actually see (Glenn) spins out of the tackle," Green argued.

"He was unable to get a grip."

Former Canberra back-rower Shaun Fensom is now a chance to make his club debut for the Cowboys against the Sea Eagles at 1300 Smiles Stadium on Saturday.

Scott is also appearing at the judiciary on Tuesday night. He was cited for a shoulder charge out of the same game.

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