Storm's King sent straight to judiciary

Melbourne forward Max King could face a lengthy ban after becoming the first player to be referred straight to the NRL judiciary for a hip-drop tackle.

Coach of the Storm CRAIG BELLAMY
Coach of the Storm CRAIG BELLAMY Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Melbourne have a judiciary drama on the eve of the finals with Max King referred straight to the panel for a hip-drop tackle.

King was issued a dangerous contact charge for his move on St George Illawarra forward on Blake Lawrie, with the NRL deeming it too serious to be given a grading.

Fellow Storm forward Tui Kamikamica is facing up to two games on the sidelines for a late hit on Dragons five-eighth Jayden Sullivan.

However, an ankle injury is likely to rule Kamikamica out of Saturday night's preliminary final against Parramatta and he could return for the next game with an early guilty plea.

For King though, the situation is far more serious before his Tuesday night hearing.

The Melbourne bench forward fell on the legs of Lawrie in a tackle, briefly forcing the Dragons player from the field.

The incident also sparked controversy off the field, with former Dally M winner Greg Alexander claiming there was "intent to injure" on Fox League's commentary.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy later said that was "ridiculous", insisting no player in the NRL would go out to purposefully hurt a rival.

Melbourne have previously said they were annoyed by questions being asked over their tackling techniques almost routinely late in the season.

Captain Cameron Smith said on Monday they'd grown frustrated with the situation, but conceded the timing of King's matter was unfortunate.

"(The wrestle talk) was probably frustrating several years ago but now it's not a shock," Smith said.

"I know the tackle involving Maxy yesterday didn't look great at all. If anything it was quite clumsy.

"But it's expected for these things to be raised at this time of year.

"It's just unfortunate that that incident happened yesterday on the eve of the finals."

King's alleged hip drop is the first viewed as serious enough to be sent straight to the panel without the option of an early guilty plea.

If the 23-year-old is found guilty he could face anything beyond three weeks, which is the base penalty for a grade-three offence.

The NRL, meanwhile, is growing concerned by the increased number of charges over the tackle.

Since a crackdown two months ago, Jesse Bromwich, Tyrell Fuimaono and Junior Paulo have all been charged for a hip drop.

The NRL is now considering increasing the penalties at the end of the year for the hip drop.

"If we feel the penalties need to be stronger then we will address that," head of football Graham Annesley said, insisting his comments did not relate to the King case.

"We will try and examine why it's happening

"If we feel having done that analysis that the only way to prevent certain practices from taking place is to use a heavier hand through the match review and judicial process, then that's what we'll do."

King's hearing will end a long night at the judiciary with Canterbury's Luke Thompson set to face the panel over eye gouge allegations at 6pm.