Cronulla forward Andrew Fifita has been unsuccessful in his bid to have a grade two dangerous contact charge downgraded and has received a three-match ban, ruling him out of Saturday's Test between Tonga and New Zealand.

Fifita was selected in the Tongan squad but will miss the Test in Auckland plus Cronulla's next two clashes against the Bulldogs and Broncos after a three-man judiciary panel deemed there was sufficient evidence of foul play against the 29-year-old in his tackle attempt on Canberra's Ryan Sutton in the eighth minute of last weekend's clash.

Fifita's legal team, led by defence lawyer Nick Ghabar, pleaded guilty to the initial charge in the 90-minute hearing but gave evidence of five cases similar to either grade one or two crusher tackles over the past four seasons that suggested Fifita's case deserved a downgrade.

NRL counsel representative Anthony Lo Surda argued Fifita had time to pull out of the tackle made by Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey, and the panel later agreed the charge warranted in excess of a base points penalty. 

Also appearing at the judiciary on Tuesday were Warriors forward Adam Blair and Bulldogs back-rower Sauaso Sue.

Blair was found not guilty of a grade one dangerous contact charge and is free to line up against Penrith in round 15 at Mt Smart Stadium.

Warriors forward Adam Blair.
Warriors forward Adam Blair. ©NRL Photos

The charge related to an incident involving Titans five-eighth Tyrone Roberts in last Friday's clash on the Gold Coast and occurred in the 80th minute of the Warriors' 24-20 win.

Blair and his team successfully argued that the Warriors enforcer struck Roberts in a legal manner and did not follow on with the tackle once initial contact was made.

Sue was also found not guilty after challenging a grade one dangerous contact charge on Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk.

Sue was facing a two-match ban but is available for selection for the Dogs' round 15 home game against the Sharks.

"I'm very relieved, I didn't think what I did was against the rules so I was confident," Sue told NRL.com after the hearing. 

"I thought he still had the ball when I made contact so I didn't think anything of it at the time. It's footy and some things just happen but definitely pleased with the result."

Meanwhile, Newcastle Knights back-rower Mitchell Barnett has accepted a three-week ban over a crusher tackle.

Barnett - who was facing a five-game suspension if he challenged the grade three dangerous contact charge and lost - will miss matches against Brisbane, the Warriors and Bulldogs. He will also have 75 carry-over points. 

Barnett was given a grade three charge for dangerous contact to the head/neck of Storm fullback Jahrome Hughes in the 35th minute of Saturday's game at AAMI Park.

Player Andrew Fifita
Club Sharks
Time minute of match 8th
Charge/Incident Dangerous contact - head/neck
Charge grade 2
Result Guilty at panel
Misconduct on whom? Ryan Sutton
   

 

Player Adam Blair
Club Warriors
Time minute of match 80th
Charge/Incident Dangerous contact - other
Charge grade 1
Result  Not guilty at panel
Misconduct on whom? Tyrone Roberts

 

Player Mitchell Barnett
Club Knights
Time minute of match 35th
Charge/Incident Dangerous contact - head/neck
Charge grade 3
Result - Guilty or Not Guilty Guilty - early plea
Matches to serve 3
Points/ Fine calculation 375
Carry-over points 75
Misconduct on whom? Jahrome Hughes

 

Player Sauaso Sue
Club Bulldogs
Time minute of match 80th
Charge/Incident Dangerous contact - other
Charge grade 1
Result  Not guilty at panel
Misconduct on whom? Cooper Cronk