NRL judiciary hand down verdict on Maroons stalwart

Felise Kaufusi is free to play for the Maroons in the State of Origin series opener after being found not guilty of a tripping charge at the NRL Judiciary.

Today’s result means the Storm back-rower will head into next week’s clash as the most experienced forward in the Queensland side, with nine appearances at Origin level to date.

The Melbourne star put his Maroons jersey in jeopardy over the weekend after being cited for tripping Brisbane’s Jake Turpin late in the Storm’s rout of the Broncos.

Guaranteed to miss one match due to prior loadings, he had no option but to face up to the judiciary tonight to plead his case and overturn his charge.

The grade one charge carried a base penalty of 100 points, or one match, but Kaufusi’s prior record meant he’d attract a loading that would trigger a suspension.

He vitally needed to successfully fight his charge at the judiciary tonight to have any hope of playing in the series-opener on Wednesday week.

It was Kaufusi’s third charge this season, which made him ineligible for a fine.He was suspended for two matches in Round Two for dangerous contact on Parramatta’s Ryan Matterson, and fined in Round Nine for dangerous contact on South Sydney’s Cody Walker.

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