MISSION accomplished, sort of. Souths were successful in having Greg Inglis's dangerous-contact charge downgraded, handing him a three-match suspension, but it was difficult to tell if they considered the result a victory or a defeat.
Inglis, along with coach Michael Maguire and chief executive Shane Richardson, walked out of Rugby League Central without uttering a word, after the charge was downgraded to grade three.
Inglis's legal team successfully argued that Inglis's controversial hit on St George Illawarra player Dean Young on Saturday night was not reckless. After a long submission by Inglis's lawyer Nick Ghabar, the panel of Michael Buettner, Chris McKenna and Mal Cochrane took less than 10 minutes to reach their verdict, which shaved two matches off the ban the fullback had faced.
Judiciary chairman Greg Woods had, in summing up, maintained that some shoulder charges were illegal.
''Our sport is not gladiatorial, this is not cage-fighting,'' Woods said. ''We do not allow damage beyond the rules.''
Debate centred on whether or not the tackle was reckless. Woods said a reckless tackle could only occur when the defender ''foresees'' the danger, and ''makes the tackle or contact regardless of that danger''. The NRL prosecutor, Peter Kite, said it was clear to him the tackle was reckless. Yet Ghabar described any suggestion the tackle was reckless as ''absurd''.
Inglis, the Test and Origin star, had heavyweight support with him. Maguire even sat at a laptop and played on a screen above him the tackles that Inglis's representatives felt were comparable; Brisbane's Ben Te'o on Wests Tigers prop Matt Groat, and Bulldogs forward Sam Kasiano on Gold Coast's Luke O'Dwyer.
Kite had argued that Inglis approached ''at pace, and remains perfectly upright''. He said Young, too, ''doesn't lose any height''.
Kite maintained that Inglis did ''nothing to mitigate the risk'', that contact was ''very forceful'', and there was an ''unacceptable risk of injury''.
''Player Young is knocked about like a rag doll,'' Kite said.
Inglis will be free to play Cronulla in round 24.