Blues breathe easy after Paulo dodges ban, Eels sweat Lane scans

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Parramatta captain Junior Paulo will be free to play State of Origin after avoiding any suspension for a cannonball tackle that hobbled Raiders star Joseph Tapine.

Paulo was issued a grade one dangerous contact charge for his dive at Tapine’s legs on Saturday night, which came while two Eels teammates had already stopped the Canberra prop’s momentum.

The Eels skipper faces an $1800 fine with an early guilty plea, while Raiders firebrand and Queensland Corey Horsburgh also avoided sanction after he was sin-binned for lashing out at Ryan Matterson.

Paulo will be available to lead Parramatta in a critical clash with South Sydney on Friday given last year’s grand finalists have slumped to 14th on the ladder with a 4-7 record.

Paulo’s financial punishment also ensures NSW still have one of their few likely forward selections available given a host of incumbent Blues and contenders have battled various injuries of late.

“I didn’t think too much of it at the time and I obviously apologised to him,” Paulo said after full-time.

“There was no intent or malice going into that tackle, but I guess fate has got to decide itself and I have got to worry about it come Monday morning.”

Parramatta’s Shaun Lane is facing more time on the sidelines after limping off with a hamstring issue against the Raiders. He is due to undergo scans on Sunday.

Halfback Mitchell Moses is due to return from a concussion against the Rabbitohs, while Bailey Simonsson also avoided a charge for a hip-drop penalty that coach Brad Arthur took issue with after Parramatta’s 26-18 loss.

St George Illawarra’s Jaydn Su’A (high tackle) and Toby Couchman (dangerous contact) will both be free to play against the Roosters on Friday if they take the early plea for their respective charges.

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