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Round 24 charges: Lodge not guilty; seven players banned

Warriors prop Matt Lodge avoided a ban of two matches after successfully contesting his charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

Lodge was charged with dangerous contact over a tackle on Raiders forward Joseph Tapine in the 23rd minute of Friday night's loss to Canberra.

He would have received a one-match ban with an early guilty plea and risked missing two matches at the judiciary, but a successful not guilty plea means he's free to face the Titans on Sunday.

Seven other players have accepted bans for incidents in round 24, including Latrell Mitchell's six-week suspension that ends his 2021 season for the reckless high tackle that left former teammate Joey Manu requiring a facial reconstruction.

Mitchell on report and sent to the sin bin

Souths announced on Sunday they had accepted early guilty pleas for Mitchell and forward Liam Knight, who will miss two weeks for dangerous contact on Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Knight will be available again for the Rabbitohs' second finals match.
Previous offences by Mitchell had seen what would have been a four-week suspension for the high contact on Manu bumped up by carry-over points to a six-week ban.

Liam Knight charged by match review committee

Roosters forward Fletcher Baker on Monday accepted a ban of one match for a crusher tackle in the loss to the Rabbitohs.

Storm forward Jesse Bromwich and Eels prop Junior Paulo will miss just one week after submitting early guilty pleas and be free to play in the first week of the finals.

Jesse Bromwich banned for crusher tackle

Bromwich was charged with a grade one crusher tackle while Paulo attracted the same grading for a shoulder charge.

Brisbane forwards Thomas Flegler and Brendan Piakura have been hit with longer bans.

Flegler out four weeks for careless high tackle

Flegler is out for four games for a grade three careless high tackle while Piakura has received a two-match sanction for dangerous contact after making his NRL debut in Brisbane's defeat at the hands of Cronulla.

Piakura suspended for dangerous contact

Storm pair Harry Grant (dangerous contact) and Brandon Smith (high tackle - careless), Sharks centre Jesse Ramien (dangerous contact) and Eels lock Nathan Brown (high tackle) have received fines for grade one charges.

Brandon Smith fined for high shot on Niukore

NRL head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley said on Saturday afternoon that he felt that Mitchell should have been sent off, and that Bunker official Henry Perenara would be stood down from Saturday night's match between Melbourne and Parramatta and replaced by Alan Shortall.

"In view of events last night, Henry Perenara has been relegated from his role in the bunker. While I can't speak specifically to certain incidents, it's fairly clear there were errors of judgement made," Annesley said.

"It's also important that our match officials are in the right frame of mind, and due to the heavy focus on last night's incidents, we've made the decision to replace Henry."

Harry Grant fined for dangerous contact

Roosters forwards Isaac Liu (careless high tackle) and Egan Butcher (dangerous throw) and Souths centre Dane Gagai (contrary conduct) have also copped fines for grade one offences. 

Just two charges came out of Sunday's matches with Manly prop Josh Aloiai (contrary conduct, $1350) and Wests Tigers forward Luciano Leilua (high tackle - careless, $1150) taking the early plea on Tuesday.

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