NRL: Blair avoids ban

Adam Blair. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Blair. Photo / Getty Images

Wests Tigers forward Adam Blair successfully avoided an NRL ban after pleading his case in front of the judiciary on Wednesday night, providing the struggling joint-venture club with a rare boost.

The Tigers have failed to get going in 2013, slumping to three losses from their opening five games and, on Wednesday, lost star playmaker Benji Marshall to a toe injury for at least a month.

But Blair's successful night at the judiciary gives them a significant lift ahead of Sunday's all-important showdown with St George Illawarra at the SCG.

Already boasting a mounting injury list that includes prop Keith Galloway and winger Marika Koroibete as well as Marshall, the Tigers will also be without second-rower Bodene Thompson who copped a one-week ban after pleading guilty to a grade-one dangerous contact charge.

Thompson was sanctioned for making contact with kicker Gareth Widdop at AAMI Park, and will be back to face Brisbane at Campbelltown Stadium on April 27.

But just hours after news they'd be without Marshall, Blair successfully argued his case in front of the judiciary, who threw out his grade-one dangerous contact charge.

Blair was placed on report in the 60th minute of the Tigers' loss to Melbourne on Monday after pulling the leg of Storm back-rower Kevin Proctor.

He will be available for New Zealand in Friday week's Test match with Australia in Canberra.

Marshall will certainly miss the Test match, and at least a month of NRL action after the Tigers confirmed scans had revealed he had suffered a toe ligament injury in the loss to Melbourne.

There had been fears the 'turf toe' injury could rule Marshall out for up to three months, but the club remains hopeful the former Test skipper, despite being forced to wear a moon boot for the next fortnight, will be available to face Cronulla in round nine.

"The toe doesn't look too good actually - it's pretty bruised and swollen," Tigers captain Robbie Farah told Triple M radio.

"Our physio explained it's a similar sort of injury as doing your ligament in your knee but it's a similar ligament in your big toe.

"Thankfully it doesn't require surgery but he's going to be out for a few weeks."

Marshall's replacement has yet to be named.

Tim Moltzen has experience in the halves, and a move would allow youngster James Tedesco to shift from the wing to his preferred role at fullback, while halfback Jacob Miller was only recently dropped to reserve grade.

- AAP

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