NRL: Warriors set to lose Jazz Tevaga to one-match ban

2019-04-07 03:04:44

The Warriors are at risk of having versatile forward Jazz Tevaga banned for Saturday's showdown with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Tevaga will front the NRL judiciary this week after being charged with a grade one dangerous contact offence in last Friday's 26-10 win over the Gold Coast Titans in Auckland.

A report stated Tevaga was facing a one-match ban "due to the loading resulting from a prior similar offence unless he beats the charge at the judiciary".

Tevaga was accused of dangerous contact following a 32nd minute incident involving Titans interchange prop Shannon Boyd.

The 23-year-old has had one similar offence in the past two years, meaning he will be suspended for one game if the charge is proved.

​Losing Tevaga - the Dally M interchange player of the year in 2018 - would be a big blow for the Warriors due to his utility value.

Tevaga has stated a preference to "play in the middle" for the Warriors, but he has served coach Stephen Kearney ably at hooker this season.

The Christchurch-born forward has filled in at hooker for significant minutes during the last three matches.

Kearney's hooker stocks took a pounding when Nate Roache suffered a calf strain in round one.

Then, former Kiwis hooker Issac Luke suffered a similar problem in round three against Manly, forcing Kearney to use Tevaga at hooker for the entire second half.

Karl Lawton started in the No 9 jumper against his old Gold Coast teammates on Friday night and had a solid game, but Tevaga also filled in, making four dummy half darts.

If the Warriors lose Tevaga at the judiciary, Kearney might be tempted to keep Lawton in cotton wool, and hope Luke or Roache is on the mend.

Kearney gave Lawton a wrap at the post-match press conference.

"Over the last couple of weeks, [we've been] chopping and changing with our dummy halves, it's an important position in the team," Kearney said.

"So for Karl to come in there and do the job he did, I thought he did pretty well."

Lawton, 23, was delighted to mark his first appearance of the season with the Warriors' second victory of 2019.

"It was a good effort by the boys," he told a Sky Sport interviewer after the final whistle. I think we did a good job in the middle.

"Our D [defence] was too strong. We D'ed up on our line for god know's how many sets, it felt like forever. But we came home with a win, which is good."

His performance was a confidence booster for Lawton, who had languished largely in reserve grade since shifting to Auckland for the start of the 2018 season.

He made just seven appearances last year after 12 for the Titans, meaning Friday's appearance was his 20th at NRL level.

The Warriors' improved defensive effort after leaking eight tries in the 46-12 mauling by Manly in round three was a collective effort, with the workload shared.

Loose forward Lachlan Burr led the way with 38 tackles, one more than Isaiah Papali'i, with Tevaga making 32 and Lawton 26.

Meanwhile, Tevaga will be joined at the judiciary by the Titans' young Kiwi prop Moeaki Foutaiki, Brisbane Broncos forward Tevita Pangai jr and Panthers backrower Isaah Yeo.

The report indicated Pangai jr could be banned for two to three games for a grade two dangerous contact charge following his late hit on Roosters half Cooper Cronk last Thursday.

Fotuaiki, 19, faces a grade one dangerous contact charge for a hit on Warriors playmaker Blake Green in the 34th minute.

He is likely to escape a ban, if he pleads guilty, due to his clean record.

So will Yeo, who has been cited for a crusher tackle on Wests Tigers rival Luke Garner.

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