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Felise Kaufusi elbows Sam Walker, Melbourne Storm beat Sydney Roosters, news, video,

Melbourne Storm and Maroons backrower Felise Kaufusi has escaped a suspension after a ‘disgraceful’ elbow to the face of Sydney young gun Sam Walker, in a massive boost to Queensland’s State of Origin campaign.

Early in the second half of Storm’s 26-18 win, 19-year-old Walker attempted to tackle a rampaging Kaufusi.

As they fell to the ground, Kaufusi came down on top of the Roosters youngster. And when Walker’s head struck the ground, Kaufusi’s right arm – which was carrying the ball – slammed into Walker’s head.

And, crucially, Kaufusi appeared to raise his arm at the final second, in what could be perceived as a deliberate act. But the NRL Judiciary deemed the incident to be a low-grade Dangerous Contact charge, carrying a fine of just $1800 for an early guilty plea. The result leaves Kaufusi free to play in Game 2 of the State of Origin series – despite the star having a ‘history’ of dangerous elbow antics.

A year ago, Kaufusi was banned two weeks for a similar elbowing incident, where he slammed his forearm into the head of Eels star Ryan Matterson – though on that occasion Matterson was the ball carrier.

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Felise Kaufusi could be in hot water for this elbow.Source: FOX SPORTS

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On Saturday night, Greg Alexander referenced that previous moment when he said on Fox League: “He does have history. Do you think he moved that elbow? Okay, I’ll say it, I think he meant what we saw. He knew exactly what he was doing.”

Andrew Voss replied: “He knew what he was doing. He knew where his forearm was in relation to the defender. That’s one again for post-match (review).”

The duo weren’t the only ones to express their concerns over the actions of the Storm star.

The Daily Telegraph journalist Buzz Rothfield tweeted: “the follow through while Walker was on the ground was disgraceful.”

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Walker’s face was left bloodied by the incident, and he was immediately taken from the field for a HIA – though he would subsequently pass the concussion test.

But the referee and video referee appeared to miss the incident, for which 30-year-old Kaufusi avoided a penalty or any subsequent punishment.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he believed that the NRL’s video referees ‘would have stepped in’ if Kaufusi had broken the rules.

“I didn’t see it, I don’t really watch the screen, I am watching what is happening on the field so I didn’t really see what happened but I don’t think he got penalized for it,” Bellamy said .

“So you think if there was something that was wrong with it the Bunker would have stepped in.

“I remember Sam going off but I can’t remember, I didn’t know what happened. So at the end of the day, I am not going to comment on something I didn’t see and you’d think the Bunker would have picked it up if it wasn’t within the rules.”

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Kaufusi was widely viewed as fortunate for receiving just a two week suspension for the incident last season which saw Matterson miss a number of weeks due to the effects of the concussion.

“I thought it was disgraceful, gutless and I thought the NRL showed no courage at all,” Paul Kent said on NRL 360 at the time.

“A two-week penalty for that? I think we have been talking for some years now about concussion and the safety of the player and the long-term damage caused by knockouts and yet we see an incident like this. He doesn’t get sent off or ten in the sin bin … He should be sent off and he should be looking at six to eight weeks.”

NSW coach Brad Fittler also said the punishment was insufficient, telling 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio: “Four to six weeks might have been something better.”

Kaufusi never admitted fault, nor apologized to Matterson, for the incident.

On Saturday, the Storm star delivered a superb try for debutant Grant Anderson early in the match against the Roosters, before scoring one of his own in the second half.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 11: Sam Walker of the Roosters leaves the field with the trainer during the round 14 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm at Sydney Cricket Ground, on June 11, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

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