The Queensland Origin team has received a massive boost with nine-game Maroons veteran Felise Kaufusi free to play in game one after getting off his tripping charge at the judiciary.
It’s more good news for the Maroons after hooker Harry Grant was cleared of injury so much that main competitor Reed Mahoney was released from the camp.
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Kaufusi was facing a one match ban after appearing to lash out with his legs in the Melbourne Storm’s big win over the Brisbane Broncos last Thursday night.
It was a moment that saw Kaufusi kick out and catch Broncos skipper Jake Turpin in the leg and would usually only face a fine, but it was Kaufusi’s third charge of the season.
But the Queensland and Australian representative successfully had the charge cleared.
There was strong debate over whether he would be cleared or not for the incident.
Even Queensland coach Paul Green said on Monday he hoped “common sense prevails” but that he wouldn’t be surprised if he was suspended.
“People say he’s a repeat offender but you can’t hang a bloke for everything he’s done wrong,” Green said. “He’s got charged for tripping and I don’t think Turpin even fell over.”
Felise Kaufusi argued he didn’t contact Turpin.Source:FOX SPORTS
Kaufusi’s argument boiled down to that he didn’t contact Turpin.
“As a defender, you can see I just made that tackle on Tevita Pangai Jnr … I’m thinking far out, he’s just offloaded, I need to get up urgently,” Kaufusi said in the hearing as reported by NRL.com.au.
“In transition I’m bringing my leg up to try and bring myself back to my feet … it was in transition I then saw Jake Turpin and I brought my leg down.
“You want to make the tackle and if you do see an offload, my next job is to get up on my feet.
“I don’t know what you’re seeing mate because there is no contact.”
But on Fox League’s NRL 360, former Queensland player Ben Ikin said he was stunned it was cleared.
“Was there ever any doubt,” Paul Kent said on NRL 360.
“That’s not guilty, I’m okay with not guilty there,” Rabbitohs star Benji Marshall added.
“He doesn’t trip him because he doesn’t trip over,” former NRL hardman James Graham added.
“I would have said I was trying to get up,” Kent said.
Felise Kaufusi dodged a bullet.Source:News Corp Australia
But former Queensland Origin player and proud Queenslander Ben Ikin said he couldn’t believe Kaufusi got off.
“As a Queenslander, I’m flabbergasted that he will be available for our team,” Ikin said. “Happy. Happy, happy.”
Kent added: “Can you imagine the conspiracy theories if it was a NSW player? Everybody would be saying, it’s a cook up. That’s what you do every year when a NSW player gets off. It’s a cook up, it’s disgraceful.”
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