Canterbury to fight Pritchard charge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Canterbury to fight Pritchard charge

By Ben Horne 16/08/2011 05:38:01 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury are contesting the grading of Frank Pritchard's careless high tackle charge at the NRL judiciary, as the Bulldogs fight to keep their finals hopes alive.

The match review committee stung the Bulldogs enforcer with a grade three charge for his heavy shot on Cronulla's Wade Graham.

The hit rocked the five-eighth and left him with a bloodied nose in Monday's 19-12 win by the Dogs.

If the judiciary uphold the match review committee's recommendation on Wednesday night, Pritchard will miss the Bulldogs' crucial clash with Manly on Sunday.

However, a successful downgrade would see him eligible for the Sea Eagles' match which can keep Canterbury in the hunt to steal eighth place from Newcastle.

The Bulldogs are adamant the point of contact with Graham was with Pritchard's shoulder and not his forearm, and that the high contact was an accident in the act of making a solid tackle.

Canterbury currently sit two competition points and a negative for and against back from eighth-placed Newcastle.

Beating the high-flying Sea Eagles at Brookvale is imperative to the Bulldogs' playoff chances, and Pritchard's absence would rob the club of arguably their most lethal strike weapon.

Canterbury lock Dene Halatau said he was disappointed Pritchard was charged, but backed the likes of David Stagg and Greg Eastwood to rise to the occasion if the New Zealand Test international is knocked back for a downgrade on Wednesday night.

"If Franky's out we'll have to step up and fill in him for but I think the guys that are there are capable to do a job," Halatau said at the Bulldogs' recovery session at North Cronulla.

"Staggy came back from injury last night and I thought he was great, he had 10 or 11 carries in the time he got and they were all really strong carries.

"Greg's been building his game over the year, he came into this week with a little bit of an injury and I thought he did a great job to put in the time with rehab and get on the field and have some strong charges and set up that try for Benny Barba at the end of the first half.

"Hopefully he (Pritchard) doesn't get suspended. I thought it was a pretty good shot at the time, obviously he made contact with the head and that's what they're looking at."

In other judiciary news, Newcastle's Joel Edwards and the Warriors' Ben Matulino have taken the early guilty plea for careless high tackles and will be free to play this weekend.

The Warriors' Ukuma Ta'ai has pleaded guilty but will dispute the grading of his grade two striking charge on the Knights' James McManus in a bid to halve his suspension to one week.

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