Dragons star Justin Poore beats the odds

Justin PooreJustin Poore will spearhead St George Illawarra’s charge for a club record-equalling eight successive victories on Saturday against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium after having a dangerous throw charge downgraded last night.The three-man NRL judiciary panel took just minutes to rule that Poore’s tackle on Penrith winger Shane Elford should be reduced to a grade one charge.Facing three weeks on the sideline if found guilty, the decision meant Poore received just 93 penalty points and is free to line up for the Dragons as they close in on the minor premiership. BLOG: Dragons fans and a painful premiership history Full coverage of The St George Illawarra Dragons”I’m very happy with the hearing I received and I’m very excited to play Canberra this week,” a tight-lipped Poore said after the hearing.Poore’s defence was based on a claim that Elford had contributed to the tackle by being off his feet before he was able to use force in the tackle – and that the Dragons prop had just broken from a scrum and had a limited time to react in effecting the tackle.Poore and the Dragons likened the tackle to a grade one dangerous throw by Brisbane prop Dave Taylor against Canberra a fortnight ago.Earlier, NRL judiciary counsel Peter Kite argued that Poore’s tackle was of the same severity as grade two dangerous throws by Bulldogs forward Greg Eastwood on Manly’s Glenn Stewart earlier this season and another made by Gold Coast playmaker Mat Rogers on Parramatta’s Luke Burt.Eastwood took the early guilty plea and was suspended for two weeks while Rogers was found guilty at a judiciary hearing.Elford was taken to Sydney’s Westmead Hospital after the Poore tackle, in the 14th minute of Friday night’s 25-6 victory over Penrith.It was initially feared he had suffered bleeding around the eye, but he was discharged later that night.Kite claimed Elford’s injuries were a direct result of the Panthers winger landing on his head after Poore had driven him into the ground, as he twisted in the tackle.Meantime, the NRL judiciary suspended Dragons centre Beau Scott for one week last night for a separate dangerous throw charge on Penrith’s Wade Graham.In Scott’s defence, Sydney barrister Geoff Bellew claimed the Dragons centre was a passenger in the tackle as Graham drove forward and second-rower Matt Prior attempted to bring the Panthers playmaker to the ground.However, it was ruled Scott had made a significant contribution to the tackle.Prior earlier accepted a one-week ban for his part in the tackle and will miss Saturday’s showdown with Canberra.Chase Stanley is expected to come into the team to replace Scott, but there is doubt over centre Matt Cooper, who is battling a heel injury and has not trained this week.However, New Zealand international winger Jason Nightingale is on stand-by for Cooper.
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