Manly’s top four aspirations have been dealt a blow with forward Anthony Watmough facing a two-match ban after he was charged with a Grade 2 dangerous contact – unnecessary arm pressure, by the NRL Match Review Committee on Monday.
Watmough was charged for his 39th minute tackle on Warriors fullback Kevin Locke during the Sea Eagles heart-stopping 24-22 victory in Western Australia.
The base charge for the tackle is 250 points, but that would be reduced to 187 if Manly decide to take the early plea.
Watmough will miss one match with an early guilty plea, but could be ruled out for two games if he fights the charge at the NRL judiciary and loses.
If suspended Watmough will miss his side’s important clash with the fifth placed Cowboys in North Queensland on Saturday night.
The reigning NRL Premiers have had an injury and suspension plagued title defence throughout the 2012 season.
The news of Watmough’s charge from the match review committee comes after prop Jason King left the field early against the Warriors with severe bruising to the chest area.
The Sea Eagles issued a press statement today saying King’s progress would be monitored throughout the week and that there was a slight chance he’ll be right to play against the Cowboys in Townsville.
It is expected star fullback Brett Stewart will be back from a hamstring injury for the Round 22 clash.
With just two points separating the third placed Storm from the sixth placed Sea Eagles, the next few matches are crucial in the battle for a top four spot.
Manly have a tough fixture list in the next four weeks, they take on the Cowboys in Townsville, before facing the second placed Rabbitohs, fast finishing Knights and then the fourth placed Broncos in consecutive weeks.
The Sea Eagles will have until midday on Tuesday to enter a plea.