Never a penalty: Johns speaks up as Aloiai faces ban

Scott Bailey |

Josh Aloiai (pictured) faces a two-match ban for his challenge on the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson.
Josh Aloiai (pictured) faces a two-match ban for his challenge on the Warriors’ Shaun Johnson.

Josh Aloiai has found an unlikely ally in Andrew Johns, as the Manly prop was left facing a ban for the dangerous contact that cost his side victory in Auckland.

Aloiai had salt rubbed into the wound on Sunday when he was hit with a grade-two dangerous contact charge for running into Shaun Johnson on Saturday, after the Warriors halfback attempted a two-point field goal.

Attemping to pressure Johnson, Aloiai collided with the No.7’s outstretched leg and was penalised by the bunker.

The penalty allowed the Warriors to draw level at 22-22 after the siren, before a golden-point stalemate meant the match ended in a rare draw.

Aloiai will miss Manly’s trip to Gold Coast next weekend with an early guilty plea, while he would risk a second game on the sidelines if he fights the charge and loses.

But NRL legend Johns claimed the bunker got it wrong in penalising Aloiai.

A vocal advocate for the better protection of playmakers, Johns nonetheless labelled the contact as an accident and did not believe it warranted a penalty.

“I am all for protecting kickers and playmakers, I probably go over the top on it, but it wasn’t a penalty,” the former Newcastle and Kangaroos halfback said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.

“He’s competing. And when you compete hard, occasionally accidents happen. That was just an accident.”

Andrew Johns.
NRL legend turned pundit Andrew Johns (pictured) has leapt to the defence of Manly’s Josh Aloiai. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Manly coach Anthony Seibold refused to analyse the incident when asked after the match.

“If I say it shouldn’t have been a penalty I’ll be called a whinger,” Seibold said.

“If I say it should have been a penalty then potentially I’m not looking after the players in my group.

“It was adjudicated a penalty and we get on with it.”

Cronulla winger Sione Katoa is the other player facing a ban out of Saturday’s match, with a one-game suspension looming for his high hit on Cameron Murray.

If Katoa was to fight the charge and lose, his ban would double to two matches.

Cowboys pair Sam McIntyre and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki were charged for dangerous contact during North Queensland’s seven-point loss to Parramatta on Saturday, but can accept fines.

Eels second-rower Bryce Cartwright can take a fine for dangerous contact from the same match.

AAP