Briton Nikora (pic) has been charged for his shot on Viliame Kikau and is likely to miss two games. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Nikora charged for late Kikau hit, Luai fortunate

Jasper Bruce March 16, 2024

Cronulla second-rower Briton Nikora is set to miss his in-form side’s next two games after being charged for a shot on Canterbury’s Viliame Kikau.

But the news is better for Penrith five-eighth Jarome Luai as he escaped suspension and can play in next week’s grand-final rematch against Brisbane despite twice going on report in the victory over Parramatta.

Early in the Sharks’ 25-6 defeat of the Bulldogs on Friday night, referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski called play to a halt to sin bin Nikora for a shot in the previous set of six.

Replays confirmed Nikora’s shoulder had made late and high contact with his opposite man Kikau, who was able to continue in the game.

On Saturday morning, the match review committee charged Nikora with grade-two dangerous contact and offered him a two-match ban.

He will miss upcoming clashes with the Wests Tigers and Canberra by taking the early guilty plea but risks also sitting out the following game against South Sydney by challenging the charge.

One of the best line-running second-rowers in the league, Nikora’s absence is a blow to a Sharks side that is already readjusting on the edges following Wade Graham’s retirement last year.

New recruit Billy Burns is a chance to come onto the Sharks’ right edge for a club debut, while Jack Williams is also an option as a bench forward with experience starting at second row.

Elsewhere, Luai can accept a pair of $1,800 fines after being hit with two grade-one charges in the wash-up from the Panthers’ 26-18 win over the Eels.

Luai first went on report for hitting Bailey Simonsson high early in Friday night’s game and ending the winger’s night through concussion protocols.

Luai became wrong-footed and tripped Mitch Moses as the Eels halfback attempted a kick later in the game, attracting the ire of the referee a second time.

But Luai will be free to face off against the Broncos at BlueBet Stadium next Thursday night.