NRL Finals 2022: Parramatta Eels star Junior Paulo cleared to tackle, Jason Taumalolo banned

Eels Wrecking Ball Junior Paulo has been cleared to play in the NRL Grand Final.

Paulo was given the all-clear by the NRL Match Review Committee on Saturday morning, despite being flagged for a lifting tackle that threw Cowboys star Peta Hiku into the turf.

The NRL has announced that Cowboys co-captain Jason Taumalolo has been hit with a dangerous Level 2 contact charge for a shoulder charge on Isaiah Papali’i.

It’s another success for the Cowboys, who are still devastated after their loss to the eels Friday night in Townsville.

The Eels, who at one point trailed 20-14 in the second half, picked up a remarkable 24-20 comeback win and will now face Penrith Panthers or South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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Taumalolo was sent to sin bin for the hit and faces a three-match ban.

It means the star lock will miss the first two games of Tonga’s Rugby League World Cup campaign and a warm-up game.

Speaking to former Queensland team-mate and legend Johnathan Thurston on Channel 9 after the 24-20 loss, Taumalolo struggled to express his emotions.

When asked how he felt, the veteran striker replied: “I’m a little lost for words at the moment.”

Pressed further by Thurston, I mumbled, “Yeah, yeah kinda disappointing. The guys worked hard enough, got into a position to play soccer in the finals and just failed. Well yes.

Taumalolo also thanked the club’s dedicated fanbase: “Yeah, half the reason we’re here and in the position we’re in is because of the fans. To come out and support us week after week…”

Paulo, however, is free to face either the Panthers or the Rabbitohs in the Grand Finals.

Originally published as Cowboys star banned as bulldozer Eels Junior Paulo learns of his fate

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