Melbourne could be without influential front-rower Jesse Bromwich for the rest of the NRL season as he faces a lengthy ban for biting.
Bromwich, widely regarded as the best prop in the game, was on Monday hit with a dangerous contact charge by the match review panel and has been referred directly to the judiciary.
The New Zealand Test forward is accused of biting the arm of St George Illawarra’s Josh Dugan during Melbourne’s 22-4 win on Saturday in an incident which angered the NSW fullback.
Dugan emerged from a tackle in the 69th minute remonstrating with the referees, pointing at his right arm where he was alleged to have been bitten.
If found guilty, Bromwich would almost certainly be rubbed out for the rest of the year.
The last player to be found guilty of biting, Canterbury skipper James Graham, was banned for 12 weeks.
Graham missed the opening months of the 2013 season after he bit on Melbourne fullback Billy Slater’s ear during an infamous incident in the 2012 grand final.
Meanwhile, Wests Tigers enforcer Martin Taupau is facing up to four weeks on the sideline for an ugly swinging arm on the Sydney Roosters’ James Maloney.
Taupau has been charged with grade three dangerous contact and will sit out three weeks with an early guilty plea and a month if found guilty.
Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds is facing one to two weeks out for his hit on Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes.
Reynolds connected with the head and neck of Holmes as the youngster attempted a field goal in the dying stages of the Sharks’ win at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
He is likely to accept the one-match ban for an early guilty plea, with the club announcing on Monday he is facing a four-to-six week lay off with a knee injury.
Brisbane prop Adam Blair has been charged with a grade two shoulder charge on Gold Coast’s Kane Elgey and can accept a two-week ban with an early guilty plea but will miss three matches if he fights the charge and loses.
The oft-maligned Blair has found form under master coach Wayne Bennett and his loss would be a big one with front-row partner Josh McGuire out for the rest of the year with an Achilles injury.
Newcastle playmaker Tyrone Roberts will be free to play this weekend with an early guilty plea to a dangerous throw charge.
TAKING A CHUNK
NRL players charged with biting since 2001
* Round 2, 2001: Chris Beattie (Cronulla) – guilty, two weeks
* Round 21, 2002: Luke Bailey (St George Illawarra) – exonerated
* Round 14, 2006: Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta) – exonerated
* Round 21, 2007: Brad Morrin (Canterbury) – guilty, eight weeks
* Round 3, 2008: Jarrad Saffy (St George Illawarra) – exonerated
* Round 23, 2009: William Zillman (Gold Coast) – guilty, 4 weeks
* Round 23, 2010: Scott Bolton (North Queensland) – exonerated
* Grand final, 2012: James Graham (Canterbury) – guilty, 12 weeks
Source: Fox Sports Stats