NRL: Warriors prop Ben Matulino defends shoulder charge

By Elliott Smith

Ben Matulino. Photo / Getty
Ben Matulino. Photo / Getty

The Warriors have mounted a successful defence against Ben Matulino's shoulder charge at the NRL Judiciary.

The big prop is free to play the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday, escaping a four game ban.

Managing director Jim Doyle accompanied Matulino to the hearing in Sydney, with the Warriors' defence based around the fact he used his arms in the tackle on Brisbane wing Corey Oates.

"I felt the right thing for us to do was to come across to defend the charge," Doyle told Radio Sport.

"It means we've got Ben for Sunday instead of losing him for the next four games.

Listen: Jim Doyle talks to Radio Sport


"You can clearly see when Ben actually makes the challenge, that he's actually using his arms.

"The player comes into him, so he braces himself and you can see him wrapping (his arms)."

Doyle said the judiciary found Matulino wasn't reckless as charged and he credits coach Andrew McFadden for improving his technique.

"Cappy's (coach Andrew McFadden) been continuously telling the guys and teaching them about wrapping the ball up, and you can clearly see he uses his arms," he said.

"And also he was certainly far from careless."

The fact no action was taken by the referee against Matulino at the time also helped their cause.

"On the field the referee did not challenge or take any action against him," said Doyle.

"He wasn't spoken to or put on report, and those were factors we spoke to them about tonight. And they agreed with us so it was a good outcome."

The news comes as a tremendous boost for the club, who are winless after two rounds following consecutive defeats to Wests Tigers and the Broncos.

Matulino's presence will help the Warriors against a Storm pack containing captain Cameron Smith and fellow Kiwis test forwards Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor.

"He was really pleased when we sat back down after they delivered the verdict and said not guilty Ben was very, very happy. He's looking forward to Sunday already."

- Radio Sport

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