Did Josh Papalii deserve to be suspended for this hit?
Did Josh Papalii deserve to be suspended for this hit?

Papalii cleared to play grand final

CANBERRA front-rower Josh Papalii has been cleared to play in next weekend's grand final, in a massive boost to the Raiders' hopes of winning the premiership.

The Kangaroos and Maroons enforcer was placed on report for a high shot on South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Adam Douehi in the second half of the grand final qualifier, won 16-10 by the Raiders, on Friday night .

On Saturday morning, Match review panel members looked at all television angles before determining the tackle did not warrant a charge.

Papalii was easily the best player on the field against the Rabbitohs and scored the match-winning try late in the game.

His front-row teammate Sia Soliola was charged with a Grade 1 careless tackle. He will be fined $1100 but play in the grand final.

Papalii's hit on Doueihi momentarily stopped play after the fullback was floored making a kick return.

 Replays showed the force of the tackle propelling Doueihi's head forward and into Papalii's shoulder before the back of his head hit the turf.

A penalty was awarded to the Rabbitohs, while Doueihi came off the field for a head injury assessment and later returned.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart initially believed Papalii was in trouble for a shoulder charge.

 Papalii wasn't worried about the incident after the game. 

 "My personal opinion, I hit above the ball," he said.

 "The refs didn't see it like that but that's footy."

 Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett also thought Papalii might've been guilty of a shoulder charge.

 "I just thought it was more a shoulder charge but it really wasn't because he did wrap his arm in the end," Bennett said. 

 "But I didn't take much notice after that, so I don't really know. I didn't even realise, I probably didn't think we were even going to get a penalty out of it."  

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News Corp Australia


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