Josh Dugan cleared for State of Origin decider
St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan has accepted a one-match NRL ban for a shoulder charge on Penrith counterpart Matt Moylan, ensuring his availability for the State of Origin decider.
Dugan risked a two-match suspension, which would include Origin III in Sydney on July 17, if he unsuccessfully challenged the grade-one charge at the judiciary on Wednesday night.
But he will now only miss Saturday's clash with the Sydney Roosters at Win Jubilee Oval.
Dragons coach Steve Price was keen to take the case further, but suggested Dugan opted against it.
"He's going to cop the week which is a little bit disappointing, I feel there's been far too many inconsistencies with the shoulder charge this year," Price said on Tuesday.
"But it's a decision Josh made, so it's what we're going to run with."
Dugan is no guarantee to retain the NSW No.1 jersey, with game-one standout Jarryd Hayne likely to return from a hamstring injury for the ANZ Stadium clash on July 17.
Price was uncertain whether Dugan contacted Blues coach Laurie Daley to assess his selection chances.
"He did have a lot to lose, if he did get selected for NSW. But I'm unaware if there was any consultation or conversation with Laurie there," he said.
"It was just more about what me and Josh spoke about, with our footy club going forward this week."
The NRL's decision to punish Dugan has been met with widespread condemnation, especially given he managed to wrap his left arm around Moylan - and only made contact with the youngster's torso.
Panthers executive general manager Phil Gould attacked the suspension on Twitter, calling it a farce.
"They cannot be serious. If this is now illegal in rugby league, may as well shut down the game ," Gould posted alongside a photo of the incident.
Price called on the NRL to re-examine its black-and-white ban of the shoulder charge, saying there should be more flexibility for offenders who do not strike opponents in the head.
"I feel that we definitely need to review that shoulder charge, because there was nothing wrong with the old rules," Price said.
"We should have kept it how it was and just had harsher penalties for when people made contact with the head.
"They've deemed (Dugan's hit) a shoulder charge, for (a blow to) the middle of his stomach.
"It's very disappointing in my eyes and I definitely feel the game's going soft in that regard."