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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Knights forward Mat Croker faces ban for alleged 'hip-drop' tackle

Knights forward Mat Croker is facing a suspension. Picture by Jonathan Carroll

KNIGHTS forward Mat Croker is set to miss the early rounds of next season through suspension after being charged over an alleged hip-drop tackle on Cronulla centre Siosifa Talakai on Sunday.

Croker was sin-binned and placed on report after the incident, which forced Talaki to limp from the field.

The match-review panel charged Croker on Monday with grade-three dangerous contact.

If he takes the early guilty plea, the 22-year-old will be suspended for two games.

If he opts to fight the charge at the judiciary and loses, he faces three games on the sidelines.

Newcastle's acting captain, Tyson Frizell, argued with referee Chris Sutton that there was no intent from Croker, claiming he slipped off an attempted tackle on the NSW Origin representative.

Talaki was in a protective boot after the game and is in doubt for Cronulla's opening play-off, against North Queensland at Shark Park on Saturday night.

"He has stirred up his syndesmosis [injury] from a few years ago," coach Craig Fitzgibbon said.

"He's had surgery previously so the integrity of that actually has kept it together quite well."

Talakai was scheduled for scans on his ankle.

A suspension would be be a disappointing setback for Croker after a breakthrough season.

The young goer from Nabiac has established himself in Newcastle's pack after playing 16 games in 2022.

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