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Cronulla Sharks' Kyle Flanagan escapes ban for kneeing Matt Lodge in head during NRL clash

Cronulla youngster Kyle Flanagan has somehow escaped NRL suspension despite kneeing Brisbane prop Matt Lodge in the head yesterday.

Flanagan today accepted the early guilty plea for his grade-one dangerous contact charge, allowing him to play against Melbourne next week.

NRL head of elite football Graham Annesley said the onus was on the match review committee to determine the severity of the charge.

"Clearly they didn't feel that the degree of force in this incident warranted more than a grade-one charge," Annesley said.

Flanagan's ugly incident comes a week after South Sydney prop George Burgess copped a nine-game ban for eye gouging.

It prompted Lodge to lash out at the Sharks playmaker by tripping him after the tackle was completed, with the bunker advising on-field officials of the contact.

Annesley admitted a spike in grubby acts this year prompted the ARL Commission to tick off on harsher penalties just a fortnight ago.

"We have seen an increase in incidents that are unsavoury, I'm the first to admit that," he said.

"And that's why there was a recommendation to the commission, which the commission wholeheartedly endorsed, to go harder on some of these incidents.

"They didn't sign off on a crackdown on every aspect of play. One of the attempts in doing that is to try and drive these things out of the game.

"We've done that successfully in the past by ramping up some of the suspensions and charges.

"And we'll continue to monitor that and if necessary, make further adjustments."

Sydney Roosters front-rower Zane Tetevano is out for two weeks after taking the early guilty plea for attacking the legs of Wests Tigers kicker Luke Brooks.

Tigers prop Josh Aloiai won't miss a match after he took the early plea for grade-one dangerous contact on Roosters veteran Cooper Cronk.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07:  at Shark Park on July 07, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Matthew Lodge of the Broncos stands over Kyle Flanagan of the Sharks during the round 16 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Brisbane Broncos. Source: Getty


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