Warriors forward Bunty Afoa has been found not guilty of a dangerous contact head/neck charge and is free to play in Friday's NRL clash against Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium.
Afoa was hit with a grade one charge for an incident involving St George Illawarra forward Leeson Ah Mau in the second-half of Saturday's gritty 18-12 win in Wollongong but successfully contested the charge last night.
The club hired a lawyer to defend the 21-year-old at the NRL judiciary in Sydney with Afoa and assistant coach Tony Iro assisting the hearing from Auckland via video link.
"The guys internally here looked at the video a number of times and determined there was a number of factors that should be considered in relation to the tackle and not just put the onus on Bunty for the charge," explained Warriors CEO Cameron George.
"Bunty is a very important part of our squad but it wasn't just that, it was the fact that we believe Bunty wasn't guilty of what he was charged with. There were a number of factors that should have been considered that we believe weren't considered and they were put forward last night.
"Obviously he was found not guilty so it's a very good decision for our purposes for the squad this week. But it's unfortunate we had to go through the process and highlight those factors that possibly should have been taken into account in the first place."
Meanwhile, fellow Warriors interchange front-rower Sam Lisone was handed a two-week ban after he plead guilty to a grade one dangerous contact charge for a raised forearm on Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims in the second-half at WIN Stadium.
The 24-year-old served a one match ban earlier in the year after being charged twice for raising his forearm while carrying the football on two separate occasions in the round three win over the Raiders in Canberra.
Lisone was the victim of a similar incident earlier in the match, when a raised forearm from Dragons second-rower Tyson Frizell left him clutching his throat and in need of attention from the trainer.
Despite the similarity of the two incidents, the New South Wales State of Origin star escaped further scrutiny from the match review committee.
"There possibly could have been (a charge) but the match review committee didn't pick that one up," said Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.
"That's not for us to bring to the attention of the match review committee, that's their responsibility. But again it is what it is and we've got to all move on quickly."
Kearney felt Lisone's suspension wasn't worth contesting and George also agreed the ban was justified, but said the club was happy to argue the point on incidents where they feel the charge is not warranted.
"Personally I think you've got to take those ones and we believe they're right," he said. "But the ones that we don't believe are right we've got to challenge and that's exactly what they did with Bunty.
"Sam's just got to learn from that charge and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Afoa's availability comes as the Warriors look to consolidate their spot in the top eight against the 11th-placed Knights and end a four game losing run at home.
The night will be a big occasion for the club with the Warriors Women's team playing their first game in a curtain raiser trial match against the Auckland Women's representative team.
The club are anticipating a big crowd will turn out for both games with just four weeks remaining in the regular season and the Warriors on track to make their first finals appearance since 2011.
"We're hoping the fans see reason to come and support their team. It's actually a very big game for us for a number of reasons and a big night for us.
"So we're hoping that all of the fans jump into their seats and cheer the girls and the boy's home. The weather is looking great so it should be exciting."
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