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Matulino free to face Panthers despite Judiciary charge

Wests Tigers forward Ben Matulino will be free to play in Friday's clash against the Penrith Panthers after taking the early guilty plea to his Grade 1 Dangerous Contact - Other charge.

Matulino was charged with the offence on Roosters centre Joseph Manu in the 18th minute of Saturday's Round 8 defeat, attracting an 100-point charge as a result.

However, with an early guilty plea and no carry-over points to be added, he is free to play in Friday's Magic Round clash against the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium.

For Penrith, incumbent Blues five-eighth James Maloney was charged with two seperate offences during his side's loss to the Canberra Raiders on Saturday — a Grade 1 Dangerous Contact charge and a Grade 1 Dangerous Throw charge that combine to a one-match suspension regardless of any early pleas taken.

Maloney will instead front the NRL Judiciary on Tuesday night after entering a not guilty plea for the Dangerous Throw charge on Raiders forward John Bateman.

If successful, he will be free to play against Wests Tigers on Friday night, while he will be ineligible for the game if the charge is upheld by the Judiciary.

Panthers forward Liam Martin was also charged with a Grade 1 Dangerous Throw.

Due to loading from a prior offence, Martin received a one-match suspension and will next be available for the Panthers' Round 10 game against Warriors.

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