Fired-up Cronulla and NSW captain Paul Gallen passionately argued his innocence and was vindicated with a not guilty verdict for a dangerous contact charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
Gallen avoided a one-match suspension for kneeing South Sydney forward Dave Taylor in the head and says he's now determined to overcome his own knee injury and play in Sunday's heavyweight clash between the Sharks and Melbourne at Toyota Stadium.
The Sharks star described Taylor as "a 125kg monster" and said the contact made in the play-the-ball was accidental and part of rugby league.
Gallen gave an animated defence of himself in front of judiciary panel members Sean Garlick, Mal Cochrane and Bob Lindner and said he felt Taylor was playing for a penalty as both players attempted to rise to their feet.
It only took a few minutes of deliberating until Gallen had his one-match suspension wiped.
"He's definitely 125 kilos and he's a big boy and I've got no problem with Dave Taylor," Gallen said after the hearing.
"We've played for Australia together, we surf together, it's just part of the game that happens.
"I'm definitely happy. From the time I was charged I was pretty disappointed with the charge and wanted a chance to prove I was innocent.
"It never hurt anybody, I'm just glad to have a good hearing and it's passed me now."
Gallen was challenged by NRL Counsel Peter Kite that the contact with his knee and Taylor's head was forceful and that he had a duty of care to avoid it.
The workhorse lock was a little prickly in arguing his innocence, but jokingly denied afterwards that he has a future as a defence lawyer.
"I don't know if I could handle all the uni degrees," he said.
Gallen can now enter into the State of Origin period without the burden of carry-over-points and, even though he's believed to be in reasonable doubt for Sunday's match, he said it was still a risk to fight the one-match ban.
The 30-year-old said he was hopeful of facing the Storm.
"I had a light training session today and I'm doing everything I can to play," he said.
"Shane (Coach Flanagan) will give me up until game day. It's a massive game for myself and the club."
Gallen said Flanagan came out of Wednesday morning surgery for a twisted bowel well and is on the road to recovery.
"He wants to come back to work tomorrow but we'll give him the week off I reckon," Gallen said."
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