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Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris.

Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris has escaped suspension after entering an early guilty plea for a dangerous contact charge arising from Sunday's grand final.

The New Zealand international was handed a grade-one dangerous contact charge for his late shot on Kiwi teammate Brandon Smith in the first half.

If he had fought the charge and lost, Fisher-Harris would have missed the opening match of the 2021 season but he will now be free to play as Penrith begin their search for redemption.

Meanwhile, Storm captain Cameron Smith was cleared by the NRL's match review committee of contrary conduct and will not face sanction for suggesting grand final referee Gerard Sutton was trying to set up an "exciting finish".

The Storm captain raised eyebrows, and the prospect of an NRL sanction for questioning the officials' integrity, in his 71st-minute exchange with Sutton when Jahrome Hughes was being sin-binned.

Melbourne led 26-12 at the time and Smith approached Sutton while Hughes's professional foul was reviewed by the NRL Bunker.

It's understood Smith's exchange with Sutton was discussed by the MRC on Monday, but was not deemed worthy of a contrary conduct charge.

Hughes sent to sin bin for professional foul

Speaking on Tuesday at the announcement of Ampol coming on board as the new State of Origin sponsor, NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said he will "have a chat to Cameron" but no formal action will be taken.

Penrith scored a try immediately after Hughes' sinbinning and got within six points of the Storm after Brandon Smith was also marched later for a separate infringement.

"The last three or four penalties they have got is little very picky stuff and we have got nothing mate," Smith said to Sutton, with the exchange broadcast via Channel Nine's on-field microphones.

"I get it, everyone wants an exciting finish. But we are just the same as them. Stop trying to pick little things out of our game to make an exciting finish."

Unlike a post-match media conference, the committee tends to be more lenient on comments coming in the heat of a particularly tense on-field moment.

In the only charge to come out of the NRLW grand final, Broncos halfback Tarryn Aiken accepted an early guilty plea for a contrary conduct charge and will not miss any matches.

Aiken was charged for pulling the hair of Roosters fullback Bo Vette-Welsh as she burst into a gap.

Name James Fisher-Harris
Club Panthers
Time Minute of Match 26th
Charge/Incident Dangerous Contact - Other
Charge Grade 1
Result - guilty or not guilty Guilty - Early plea
Matches to serve 0
Points/fine calculation 75
Carryover points 75
Miscounduct on whom? Brandon Smith

 

Name Tarryn Aiken
Club Broncos
Time Minute of Match 46th
Charge/Incident Contrary Conduct
Charge Grade 1
Result - guilty or not guilty Guilty - Early plea
Matches to serve 0
Points/fine calculation 75
Carryover points 75
Miscounduct on whom? Bo Vette-Welsh