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Pomeroy cops two match NRL ban

Cronulla centre Ben Pomeroy will miss Sunday's elimination final against Canberra after he was handed a two match suspension by the NRL judiciary for his shoulder charge on North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston.
Pomeroy cops two match NRL ban
by NRL

By Russell Jackson

SYDNEY, Sept 5 AAP - Cronulla centre Ben Pomeroy will miss Sunday's elimination final against Canberra after he was handed a two match suspension by the NRL judiciary for his shoulder charge on North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston.

The Sharks contingent of coach Shane Flanagan, football manager Darren Mooney, legal counsel Nicholas Ghabar and Pomeroy all left the marathon hearing, which lasted around four hours, without making a comment.

Pomeroy was the first player tried under strict new guidelines regarding the shoulder charge, introduced last week by the ARL Commission, after his hit on Thurston in last Sunday's loss to North Queensland.

Players are now sent straight to the judiciary without being graded as part of the commission's crack down on players who make contact with the head or neck with a shoulder charge.

The three-man panel of former players Chris McKenna, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane reached their verdict after watching several angles of the tackle and four comparable shoulder charges from this season including Greg Inglis's grade three tackle in July which resulted in a three-game ban.

Peter Kite, for the NRL, argued the tackle was reckless and in a similar realm of seriousness to Inglis's hit while Ghabar said the tackle was a low grade one at best.

"It's not an Inglis. It's not a Te'o. It's not a Kasiano ... it's at the lowest end of the range," Ghabar said.

Pomeroy claimed Thurston put him in a position where he couldn't make a wrapping tackle when he switched play back inside and resulted in him bracing for contact.

"And you made contact with his head?," Kite said.

"I disagree. No," Pomeroy replied before adding: "I can see that his head is not hitting my shoulder ... his head is around the back of my shoulder. The lat (lateral muscle).

Kite fired back: "I would suggest that your shoulder and not your lat hit his head."

Ghabar admitted the contact was heavy.

"I'm not going to deny this was a solid contact ... it was a substantial collision," he said.

"The initial contact is the left shoulder on the upper pec (pectoral muscle) and there is no contact with the head.

"The secondary contact, if there was any ... was momentary and glancing.

"There is no clear evidence of a collision with the jaw, head or neck."

Ghabar reminded the judiciary before they reached their finding that the matter was only referred because of the policy change and was not an indication of Pomeroy's guilt.

Pomeroy's spot in the Sharks team to face the Raiders is expected to be taken by youngster Ricky Leutele.




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