National News

Maloney, Burgess head to NRL judiciary

James Maloney and Sam Burgess will roll the dice at a high profile Tuesday night at the NRL judiciary in a bid to play in crucial club games this weekend.

With Penrith in danger of careering out of the finals race, Maloney will contest a grade-one tripping charge in the hope of facing red-hot Cronulla on Friday night.

Burgess will then follow to downgrade a grade-two careless high tackle and lead South Sydney in a first-versus-fourth blockbuster against Melbourne on Sunday.

Maloney, who has a minimum five NRL games remaining before departing for the Super League, is understood to be considering representing himself.

It is effectively a free shot for the NSW State of Origin hero, who was looking at a one-game ban whether he accepted the early guilty plea, or fights and loses.

In contrast, Burgess is staring at a heavier price should his case fail.

With his team just two points ahead of fifth-placed Manly, the Rabbitohs skipper will be rubbed out for two games if he fails to downgrade his citing.

Burgess even came under fire from coach Wayne Bennett for his high shot on Cronulla fullback Matt Moylan in the opening exchanges of their loss on Saturday.

The controversial incident had come under further spotlight after the NRL admitted a technical glitch resulted in a belated head injury assessment for Moylan.

Maloney is paying the price for a third grade-one offence this season, which normally results in a four-figure fine.

NRL rules dictate that a third grade-one offence automatically turns into a 100 demerit points, not including loading for the prior incidents.

The absence of Maloney could be fatal for a Panthers side that, with just five games left in the season, could drop as low as 11th with a third straight defeat.

Should the 33-year-old be sidelined, back-up playmaker Jarome Luai is likely to fill the breach should he overcome an eye injury he suffered against Canterbury.

"I'm pretty sure (Maloney is) going to win it because he said he was going to be my lawyer when I went in for my thing," Panthers teammate Viliame Kikau said.

"He said 100 per cent he's going to win this.

"(But) obviously if he's not there, they'll put Jarome there. I think I have a really good combination with Jarome there. He's a good player."

In other judiciary charges, Parramatta forward Manu Ma'u is set to be fined for a grade-one careless high tackle in their win over St George Illawarra.

Melbourne prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona has also taken the early guilty plea for his grade-one dangerous contact charge and is free to play against the Rabbitohs.

© AAP 2019