Two stars facing lengthy bans for ugly hits

Raiders winger Jordan Rapana and Sharks veteran Wade Graham are both facing lengthy stints on the sideline after hits in opening round.

Both can accept three-week suspensions; Rapana for his ugly shoulder charge on Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater, and Graham for his hit on South Sydney‘s Davvy Moale.

Rapana was hit with a third offence grade one shoulder charge, while Graham was hit with a first offence reckless high tackle.

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Kyle Feldt, Briton Nikora, and Braden Hamlin-Uele can all accept fines after being charged from Saturday’s action.

Rapana was initially only penalised for the hit, which came in the 27th minute of Canberra’s one-point loss to the Cowboys in Townsville, as Drinkwater returned a kick.

Rapana made little attempt to wrap his arms in the tackle, which smashed Drinkwater into the turf. He then appeared to come down hard on the ball-carrier while he was on the ground.

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In commentary for Fox Sports, Andrew Voss described the hit as “brutal”, while Raiders great Mal Meninga admitted “he could be in a bit of trouble”.

Graham was sent to the bin for his 69th minute hit on Moale in the Sharks’ 27-18 loss at home to South Sydney.

Play was initially allowed to continue. Following a Rabbitohs try a few mintutes later, Graham was called out of the Sharks huddle by referee Todd Smith, who said the fact Graham left the ground and made contact with Moale’s head constituted a dangerous tackle.

The Sharks managed to score while a man down, but couldn’t recover the deficit.

Rapana and Graham can accept three-game bans, or risk missing four games if they head to the judiciary on Tuesday night to fight the charges.

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