Donnelly cleared over NRL grapple tackle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Donnelly cleared over NRL grapple tackle

By Todd Balym 25/07/2007 08:46:51 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast forward Ian Donnelly was relieved to escape the stigma of being labelled a grapple tackler but team-mate Nathan Friend found he had no allies at the NRL Judiciary after failing to have a high-tackle charge downgraded.

Donnelly was found not guilty of a grade-one contrary conduct charge for unnecessary contact with the head/neck of Bulldog Nick Kouparitsas last Friday.

The prop is free to play in the Titans must-win clash with South Sydney on Saturday night but hooker Friend will be missing after the judiciary maintained his grade-three careless high tackle charge on Jarrad Hickey and one-match ban.

Clint Amos is expected to take his place on the weekend.

Friend is the first player to be unsuccessful at the NRL Judiciary this season with all seven previous visitors either found not guilty or able to convince the panel to downgrade charges.

"You could probably class me as unlucky," said Friend.

"We came here pretty positive ... I did not think I did any wrong ... it was just not to be."

Donnelly, meanwhile, escaped the serious allegation of being a grapple tackler as the game attempts to clamp down on the act of players applying unnecessary force to a ball-carrier's head or neck.

Melbourne are the team consistently painted as grapple tacklers, 26-year-old Donnelly making a midseason move from the Storm to the Titans this season.

He knew being a former Storm player carried some sort of stigma with regards to grappling, but was relieved that a panel of former players - including Jason Stevens, Royce Ayliffe and Mal Cochrane - exonerated him of the charge.

"I don't think any player wants to get known as a grapple tackler," said Donnelly.

"The Storm's name is always the first one brought up when people talk about grapple and I think that is unfairly, but being an ex-Storm player I didn't think that would come into it.

"I think it's definitely not a tackle anyone wants to do or have put on them.

"I feel pretty happy, pretty relieved and pretty excited.

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