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Ravalawa banned for four matches; Taukeiaho cleared

Dragons winger Miakele Ravalawa has been banned for four matches after unsuccessfully challenging a shoulder charge citation while Roosters prop Siosiua Taukeiaho has been cleared of a grade one careless high tackle for his shot on Nathan Cleary in round 15.

Ravalawa was cited with a grade one shoulder charge for his 77th-minute challenge on Elliott Whitehead in his side's win over the Raiders on Saturday.

With two prior similar charges this year, loading meant Ravalawa was facing three weeks with an early plea but risked a four-week ban to challenge the charge in a judiciary hearing at Rugby League Central on Tuesday night.

NRL counsel Peter MacGrath argued Ravalawa had time to select his method of tackle and use both arms but did not do so and led with his shoulder, then belatedly used his other arm to wrap up Whitehead after the initial contact.

Defence counsel Nick Ghabar argued the challenge did not constitute a shoulder charge. He argued initial contact occurred not from the shoulder joint or upper arm but from Ravalawa's trapezius muscle.

Ghabar also argued Ravalawa through the process of effecting the tackle used both arms to wrap up Whitehead and bring him to the ground, showing adequate care for the tackled player.

The independent three-man tackle of Tony Puletua, Sean Garlick and Bob Lindner deliberated for less than five minutes in finding Ravalawa guilty of a shoulder charge.

Roosters prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
Roosters prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho. ©NRL Photos

In the earlier case on Tuesday night, Roosters prop Siosuiua Taukeiaho was found not guilty of a careless high tackle on Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary and avoided a fine.

The same three-man independent panel of Puletua, Garlick and Lindner deliberated for around 10 minutes before handing down their not guilty verdict. 

NRL counsel Peter McGrath argued Taukeiaho's actions were careless and that he had time to withdraw from the tackle more than he did over the 22nd-minute tackle for which he was sin-binned in his side's loss at BlueBet Stadium last Friday.

Defence counsel Patrick Knowles argued Taukeiaho had no time in the fraction of the second that Cleary was slipping to pull out of the tackle and demonstrated care by withdrawing force as soon as he could.

The panel accepted the argument of Knowles, meaning Taukeiaho avoids a fine for careless high contact.