NRL 2021: Kiwi trio cop suspensions after clampdown on head contact

Kiwis Herman Ese'ese, Josh Papalii and Jordan Riki have all fallen foul of the judiciary, after the NRL's crackdown on head contact over last weekend's 'Magic Round'.

All three will miss time for tackles that went horribly wrong, with Ese'ese and Papalii being sent off for Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders respectively.

Former NZ Kiwis forward Ese'ese took an early guilty plea for his head-high tackle on Penrith winger Brian To'o and will miss three weeks, including this week's game against Canterbury Bulldogs.

Wellington-born Papalii faces the same suspension, which will include next month's State of Origin opener, for his high shoulder charge on Bulldogs winger Tui Katoa.

Riki will be sidelined for two weeks for his 'crusher' tackle on the neck of Manly's Haumole Olakau'atu, but was only fined for a heat butt on centre Morgan Harper that saw him yellow-carded during Brisbane Broncos' big loss.

Other significant Kiwi selections in this week's NRL round include:

  • Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith returns from suspension to take the No.9 jersey against the Raiders

  • Kiwis Joseph Tapine (knee), Jordan Rapana (hamstring) and Sia Soliola (knee) remain sidelined by injury for Canberra

  • Cronulla halfback Shaun Johnson has been named among the reserves and is a chance to return from hamstring injury for his 200th NRL game against St George

  • Manly half Kieran Foran will miss 2-4 weeks with a broken hand

Join us at 8pm Friday for live updates of the NZ Warriors v Wests Tigers NRL clash