South Sydney and New Zealand hooker Issac Luke will miss Sunday’s NRL Grand Final after picking up a one-match suspension for an illegal throw on Sonny Bill Williams of Sydney Roosters.
Many pundits thought Luke had a chance of dodging a ban altogether, but the NRL’s match review committee slapped the 27-year-old with a two-game suspension.
Williams, who was playing in his last game for the Roosters before a return to rugby union, insisted Luke’s tackle was not malicious.
“I hope he gets off,” he said prior to the judiciary hearing.
“There was nothing in the tackle and it would be a great travesty if any player was to miss the grand final over a nothing tackle like that.
“It would be wrong if he had to miss a grand final because of something like that and I will do anything I can to help him if I can. I spoke to Issac at the end of the game to wish him good luck for next week and I told him he shouldn’t have anything to worry about because there was nothing in the tackle.”
Losing Luke is a blow to the Rabbitohs’ Grand Final hopes. The experienced, dynamic dummy half is likely to be replaced by 21-year-old Apisai Koroisau, who has less than 15 first grade appearances under his belt and is set to join Penrith Panthers next season.