Canterbury Bulldogs forward Frank Pritchard faces semi-final ban

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Frank Pritchard
The Australian NRL star played for New Zealand before he joined the Canterbury Bulldogs Reuters/Daniel Munoz

NRL veteran Frank Pritchard might very well be at the end of his promising career after he was charged with a grade one dangerous contact during Saturday’s match against the Dragons.

The second-rower kneed Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdow when the latter tried to swoop on the ball after a charge down, resulting in a penalty to the Bulldogs despite which they clinched victory.

The Canterbury team is set to meet the Sydney Roosters for the Friday’s semi-final, which Pritchard might miss if found guilty by the NRL judiciary on Tuesday. The likely replacement for the forward would be Lloyd Perrett, costing Pritchard his NRL career before he begins his stint with Hull FC next season.

The incident that caused the uproar had another player involved, Sam Kasiano, who landed atop Pritchard and added pressure to the Dragons player. Luckily for him, the match review did not state him responsible. In a similar incident with Cronulla big-shot Michael Ennis and a high tackle on South Sydney’s McQueen, Ennis came away scot-free.

“Just grateful I get the chance to play now” a visibly relieved Ennis told ABC after he was excused from a week’s ban.

The 31-year-old Bulldogs forward however needs to fight and win the case on Tuesday, missing a chance at avoiding suspension due to 51 carryover points from earlier high contact charges this season.

Greg Inglis, charged for a similar high tackle, escaped suspension thanks to an early plea while South Sydney’s Luke Keary will miss the next season’s first week for high-tackling Cronulla captain Paul Gellen.

The semi-finals between the Bulldogs and Roosters is hyped to be one of the most important games this season and Pritchard’s absence from it would prove to be a huge blow to the Canterbury side.

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