Pangai Jr facing season-ending ban for crusher tackle
THE Broncos have been dealt a crushing blow with Tevita Pangai Jr facing a possible season-ending ban and Jake Turpin also in danger of missing next Friday night's grudge match against Souths at Suncorp Stadium.
The NRL match review committee charged Pangai Jr on Saturday with a grade-two dangerous contact charge for his tackle on James Maloney in the final minute of Brisbane's 24-12 defeat of Penrith on Friday night.
The base penalty carries 300 points, but due to three prior non-similar suspensions, Pangai Jr will receive a penalty loading, plus an additional 75 carryover points from previous charges.
It means he faces a four-match ban even with an early guilty plea, which would not only rub him out of this week's Rabbitohs blockbuster, but could sideline him for week one of the finals if Brisbane make the play-offs.
Should he fight the charge at the judiciary, Pangai Jr could miss five games.
There is every chance he may not play again this season.
No Panthers received charges from last night's defeat to Brisbane, however Jake Turpin (2-3 weeks) and Tevita Pangai (4-5 weeks) are facing suspensions for dangerous contact. Anthony Milford will cop a fine for tripping.#pantherpride 🐾 pic.twitter.com/oaI9K87mGL— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) August 17, 2019
It is a bitter blow for the Broncos, who have been inspired in recent weeks by Pangai Jr's superb second-phase, which has statistically made him the NRL's leading off-loader.
Meanwhile, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold might have to find a new halfback after Turpin was levelled with a grade-two dangerous-contact charge for his swinging arm on Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards.
With an early plea, Turpin would miss two matches, a scenario that would put rookie halfback Tom Dearden on standby to face the Rabbitohs, against whom he made his debut in round eight this year.
Turpin has done a fine job filling in at halfback and the Broncos would miss his competitive edge.
On a tough night for the Broncos, fullback Anthony Milford was also booked for tripping Nathan Cleary, but will be free to play after being hit with a low-grade charge that carries only a $1500 fine, reduced to $1150 with an early plea.
A stunning late try by Payne Haas sealed Brisbane's win at Suncorp Stadium.
But Broncos coach Anthony Seibold pointed to the other end of the ground when asked what impressed him most about the teenage prop's performance.
Haas iced the result that kept Brisbane's finals hopes alive with a barnstorming 45m run rarely seen before from a front-rower - if ever.
The 19-year-old bumped off three defenders before remarkably turning on the afterburners to run around Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards and score in the 72nd minute.
It was incredible stuff. Yet Seibold said he was more proud of Haas' efforts in their own in-goal earlier in the second half.
Not once but twice Haas did his best impersonation of the NRL's biggest fullback when he cleaned up kicks in-goal by Panthers danger man Maloney.
With No.1 Anthony Milford seemingly nowhere to be seen, Haas put his body on the line to pounce on Maloney's probing grubbers, at one stage denying Viliame Kikau what looked like a certain try.
"People in the crowd don't see some of the effort areas that are really important to us" Seibold said of Haas' in-goal heroics.
"Sometimes people look at metres run or tackles made but it is those little effort areas that are really important.
"I was really pleased that Payne turned up, really proud."
Still, there were no prizes for guessing the Broncos fans' favourite moment. Even Seibold at one stage couldn't help but gush over Haas' late try.
"It was a great try. It was great to see Payno in full flight," the coach said.
"I was just glad he took the fullback on and didn't look for a pass."