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Send off saves Civoniceva's finals

By Steve Jancetic 31/08/2010 06:55:43 PM Comments (0)

Being sent off may have saved Petero Civoniceva's NRL finals campaign with the Penrith skipper the first player to benefit from the `send-off discount'.

While the veteran prop is unlikely to avoid a two week ban - including the first week of the finals series - a clause introduced late last year appears to have saved him from a lengthier suspension.

Civoniceva was slapped with a grade three reckless high tackle charge after being marched for his 70th minute hit on Gary Warburton in the Panthers' 24-18 win over Canterbury on Monday night.

Penrith officials were seething after Civoniceva became the first player sent off in 2010, but it has actually worked in his favour with the ten minutes he spent off the field subtracted from his charge at the rate of a point per minute missed.

That reduced his penalty from 300 to 290, shaving a week off his potential ban with an early guilty plea - the Panthers having until midday Wednesday to make a call.

Club officials are considering appealing the grading of the charge, but their endeavours appear to be futile with even a grade two charge resulting in a two-week ban with an early plea.

Manly backrower Glenn Stewart won't play again this year unless the Sea Eagles make the NRL grand final after he accepted a four-week ban for a striking charge following a high shot on Sydney Roosters skipper Braith Anasta.

"He'll take the early plea on that ... at the risk of losing the downgrade," Manly coach Des Hasler said.

"Everyone knows Glenn, he's not that type of player, it certainly wasn't intentional."

Anasta revealed Stewart called him on Monday night to check on his condition - after the Roosters lock was left heavily dazed when Stewart's elbow caught him flush on the jaw.

"It was good of him to call ... he's a good guy and I don't think there was any intention, I think it was just an accident," Anasta said.

"I don't know whether he deserved to get sent off or not, that's probably up to the discretion of the referees ... there's no hard feelings anyway."

Claims Stewart could have benefited - like Civoniceva - by being sent off against the Roosters were dispelled, with the 34 points that could have been deducted should he had been marched not enough to reduce his ban.

Roosters second rower Daniel Conn and Parramatta's Feleti Mateo also accepted early pleas.

Conn will miss just Saturday night's trip to North Queensland to face the Cowboys while Mateo has escaped suspension on a striking charge.

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