St George Illawarra's Justin Poore has escaped suspension for a dangerous lifting tackle that forced Penrith winger Shane Elford from the field, with the NSW prop successfully challenging the grading of the offence at the NRL judiciary last night.
But Dragons centre Beau Scott failed in his challenge against a grade-one dangerous throw charge and will miss one match. The lifting tackle on Penrith five-eighth Wade Graham had already cost the Dragons, with Scott's partner in crime, second-rower Matt Prior, having already accepted a one-match ban.
Poore had been facing three weeks on the sidelines in the run-in to the finals when charged with a grade-two dangerous throw but is now free to play Canberra in the national capital on Saturday night.
He pleaded guilty but succeeded in having the charge reduced to a grade-one offence. The early guilty plea earned Poore a reduction of 25 per cent, allowing him to play but with 93 carry-over points.
Geoff Bellew, SC, representing Poore, laid the blame for the unfortunate outcome of the tackle squarely upon Elford. The winger left the field in last Friday night's 25-6 loss to the Dragons and has not been named for this weekend's match against Cronulla.
Bellew argued Elford's feet had left the ground before Poore even had a decent grip on his opponent.
''The attacking player has contributed to a very large extent to the dangerous position being achieved,'' Bellew said.
NRL counsel Peter Kite argued that all players had a special duty to avoid injury to the head, neck or spinal cord of an opposing player and cited several aggravating factors in the tackle.
Poore had stood up after grasping Elford, which was where the tackle began to go wrong.
Elford had been left helpless. ''At one point he is completely vertical, head to the ground, ankles directly above him,'' Kite said. ''At that point he is completely helpless and that is an important fact.''
And, once Elford reached a dangerous position, Poore did nothing to secure his safe landing, Kite argued.
''Indeed, he goes on with the tackle and his shoulder makes forceful contact with the head of player Elford,'' he said.
Poore, who was criticised at the end of the explosive third State of Origin match last month after he had lifted the upper body of an unconscious Steve Price and then dropped the Queenslander's head to the ground, refused to answer questions after winning his case.
''I'm very happy with the hearing I received and I'm very excited to play Canberra this week,'' he said.
Scott was not so lucky and will return for the match against Brisbane in Wollongong in a fortnight.
Scott and Bellew, who also represented him, had sought to blame Prior for any problems with the tackle, with Scott claiming he was only a ''passenger''.
''I think he had control of the tackle and I joined in,'' Scott said.
Bellew asked how a player with no footing and no grip on the opposing player could be held responsible.
But Kite argued Scott had used his hip as a fulcrum over which Graham was pulled down into a dangerous position.http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/lhqnews/poore-escapes-suspension/2009/08/12/1249756349821.html