Viliame Kikau will miss Penrith's preliminary final against either Parramatta or South Sydney after a being found guilty of a grade one dangerous throw charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.
Kikau was charged over a lifting tackle on Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and now needs Penrith to make the grand final to be able to play again this year.
"While I'm obviously disappointed with the outcome, I respect the decision of the NRL Judiciary," Kikau said in a club statement.
"I'll now focus on doing everything I can at training to help the team prepare for the Preliminary Final."
Kikau's grade two charge in round 15 for dangerous contact on Braydon Trindall left him with loading and carry-overs, ensuring the grade one charge he received against the Roosters would result in a ban unless he was successful at the judiciary.
After 42 minutes of presentations from NRL counsel Peter McGrath and defence counsel Nick Ghabar, a three-man panel of Sean Garlick, Ben Creagh and Dallas Johnson deliberated for 17 minutes before arriving at their conclusion, which rubs Kikau out of his side's next match.
NRL counsel Peter McGrath argued the tackle met all three criteria for a dangerous throw – namely that there was elevation beyond the horizontal, the tackle involved an unacceptable degree of risk and that the tackle was careless on behalf of Kikau.
Kikau penalised for lifting tackle
McGrath foreshadowed one argument from defensive counsel Nick Ghabar – namely that Waerea-Hargreaves himself lessened the degree of risk because he was able to brace for impact. McGrath argued this did not exonerate Kikau from the degree of risk caused by the tackle.
"It is the skill and experience of player Hargreaves to protect himself rather than anything Kikau does that averts greater risk of serious injury," McGrath said.
Defence counsel Nick Ghabar argued the actions of Waerea-Hargreaves in quickly trying to find his front caused him to tip over and the contribution of Luai adding his weight to the tackle exaggerated the upward momentum of Waerea-Hargreaves' legs.
Ghabar suggested Kikau tried to roll Waerea-Hargreaves over onto his back and help cushion the fall, but this action was impeded by the presence of Luai in the tackle.
Ghabar showed a freeze frame of the moment Waerea-Hargreaves' elbow contacts the ground, noting his head and neck is still well above the ground, and argued this effectively meant there was never any real danger of Waerea-Hargreaves' head or neck making first contact with the ground.
Ghabar said it would have been careless of Kikau to release contact and instead he showed care for Waerea-Hargreaves by attempting to roll him onto his back.
"The one-on-one driving tackle was managed as well as it could be in the circumstances," Ghabar said.
Kurt Capewell is the man most likely to be promoted to Penrith's starting side in the second row in Kikau's absence next week.