The Dolphins are in safe hands after assistant coach Kristian Woolf had a big win at the judiciary on Tuesday night, with Jarrod Wallace cleared of a shoulder charge that will see him free to play after this week’s bye.
Wallace was looking at a four-game ban if he’d been unsuccessful having already spent three weeks on the sidelines for a shoulder charge against the Warriors earlier in the year.
There wasn’t the same drama that the Reece Walsh hearing had last month, with the case taking less than an hour before the panel of Henry Perenara and Bob Lindner – who appeared via video link – found the prop forward not guilty after a 35-minute deliberation.
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Wallace was penalised in the first half of Sunday’s game against Penrith for a shoulder charge on Spencer Leniu, but Woolf successfully argued that it was the young forward’s footwork and the influence of Connelly Lemuelu in the tackle that prevented Wallace from executing a proper tackle technique.
“I’m not a legal representative, I’m a football coach and we’re coming at this from a football point of view,” Woolf said via video link.
“We don’t believe it’s a shoulder charge.
“I watch hundreds of tackles every single game, every week, and you’ll find that this type of tackle is very common.”
Woolf argued that his client was trying to “make a traditional tackle” and that he had every intention to use his left arm in a wrapping motion but couldn’t because it was hooked under Lemuelu’s arm.
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The Dolphins assistant coach said Wallace risked a shoulder dislocation or an elbow hyperextension if he tried to put his left arm in front of his teammate, and that his body position remained square while a shoulder charge would require there to be some kind of rotation.
NRL judiciary counsel Lachlan Gyles SC had earlier used nine angles to mount his case, describing the tackle as “a classic old school shoulder charge” and that there was no genuine attempt from Wallace to use his arms.
He argued that forceful contact had been made on Leniu which was “an inherently dangerous manner of conduct”, however the panel determined that Wallace’s ability to wrap his arms had been prevented by circumstances out of his control.
Titans skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui accepted a three-game ban for the same charge earlier on Tuesday.
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