The Sydney Roosters suffered a huge blow ahead of their blockbuster grand final replay after Joseph Manu failed to have a one-match ban overturned at the NRL judiciary.
The gun centre was charged for a crusher tackle on Cronulla's Siona Katoa last Saturday night, but the three-man panel of Bob Lindner, Sean Garlick and Mal Cochrane took little time to deny the Kiwi centre the chance to play against Melbourne.
Manu was keen for the Good Friday match-up against Will Chambers.
The guilty verdict was the second of the night as Manly wrecking ball Addin Fonua-Blake also failed in his bid to beat a two-match ban for a careless high tackle on Mitchell Pearce.
Fonua-Blake will play no part in the Sea Eagles' Saturday night clash against St George Illawarra and the following week's clash at home against Canberra.
Manu's lawyer Patrick Knowles said the Roosters ace exerted no extra force when he tried to re-grip his arm around Katoa's neck and even looked after the Cronulla flyer by not completing the tackle.
NRL counsel Anthony Lo Surdo, however, said Manu put Katoa in a position where he could not move his head or neck, and the expression on his face with each TV replay proved he was in clear discomfort.
Manu shook the hands of each panel member but the Roosters would not speak afterwards.
He has emerged one of the game's best centres and his absence will all but see Mitch Aubusson shifted to the centres.
Chambers has moved to the left side of the field for Melbourne this season, which will spare him one of the fantastic duels encountered last year against Roosters and NSW nemesis Latrell Mitchell.
Earlier, Fonua-Blake, who was represented by high-flying lawyer Nick Ghabar, said he tried to slow down and rap his arms around a falling Pearce in the 68th minute of Manly's 26-18 win over Newcastle.
The high shot forced Pearce out of the game and angered the fired-up locals.
Fonua-Blake said had he not put out his arm out to try and make the tackle, he could have smashed Pearce with a shoulder charge, which "would have caused more serious injury".
"I held my arm out and attempted to make a tackle – not a shoulder charge," the Tongan powerhouse said.
Fonua-Blake said he aimed for Pearce's stomach region, and had half a second to react.
Ghabar said the tackle was "unavoidable" and an "unfortunate accident".
Fonua-Blake tried to ''put on the brakes'' and there was no other option for him.
"He's not superhuman, he just couldn't get out of the way … there was nothing he could do to avoid some sort of collision,'' Ghabar Read More – Source