Lousi out for three games after appeal fails
The New Zealand Warriors have failed in their bid to downgrade a dangerous throw charge levelled at Sione Lousi meaning the forward will be suspended from the next three rounds of the NRL.
Although the Warriors entered an early guilty plea once the NRL match review committee examined Lousi's one-on-one tackle on Wests Tigers opponent Cory Paterson at Wellington's Westpac Stadium and considered it a grade two offence, the club had been hopeful of reducing the ban at a NRL judicial hearing in Sydney tonight.
Paterson landed on his head and shoulder during a potentially damaging tackle in the 11th minute of the Warriors 42-18 victory and was unable to continue playing after receiving treatment.
Lousi was placed on report and although Australian told his tackler he was "sweet" at halftime the incident was always likely to attract scrutiny in the aftermath of Newcastle Alex McKinnon suffering spinal injuries against the Melbourne Storm on March 22.
Elliott told the hearing that Paterson - who has not been named in the Wests Tigers line-up to play Manly on Sunday - had influenced the outcome of the tackle by dropping his head under Lousi's armpit and also lowering his right arm.
However, NRL judicial counsel Peter Kite argued Lousi's action in attempting to propel Paterson on to his back was reckless and the tackle actually warranted a grade three charge.
The panel of Michael Vella, Royce Ayliffe and Don McKinnon studied three angles of the tackle and examples of other dangerous throws before a 10 minute deliberation determined a grade two charge was appropriate.
Elliott said he was "obviously very disappointed" with the verdict.
"I fully expected (a successful outcome). We weren't trying something on, we weren't trying to be clever.
"The ball carrier had a massive influence on the outcome of the tackle but the panel obviously didn't see it that way."
Elliott would not be drawn on whether the charge was influenced by McKinnon's predicament and the seven-game ban handed to Melbourne Storm forward Jordan McLean at a judicial hearing last night.
"I really don't want to go there. I don't agree with the outcome at all but however I respect they go through due process. I don't want to take any other incident into account."
Kite did reference the McKinnon case, reminding the panel that players had a responsibility to prevent opponents suffering serious spinal and neck damage.
"We know from recent events that is not an unreal risk."
Ellliott unsuccessfully argued a lack of adverse reaction from Wests Tigers players who saw the tackle indicated they saw no malice or intent in Lousi's actions.
"I'm sure if they did Sione would have known about it pretty quickly."
Lousi misses Saturday's game against Cronulla plus matches against the Bulldogs and St George-Illawarra Dragons.
He will be available to return to the side for the traditional Anzac Day clash with the Storm in Melbourne.
Lousi will be replaced at lock by 12-game first grader Sebastine Ikahihifo who makes his season debut after previously playing in the NSW Cup.
NZ Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Jayson Buyuka, Simon Mannering (captain), Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Suaia Matagi, Feleti Mateo, Thomas Leuluai, Raymond Faitala-Mariner (18th man).