King banned three NRL weeks for hip drop

Melbourne's Max King pleaded guilty to a hip drop tackle with the NRL judiciary issuing him a ban of three weeks.

Coach of the Storm CRAIG BELLAMY looks on during a Melbourne Storm Training Session at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne, Australia.
Coach of the Storm CRAIG BELLAMY looks on during a Melbourne Storm Training Session at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Melbourne forward Max King has been hit with a three-week ban by the at the NRL judiciary for a hip drop tackle after pleading guilty on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old is now likely to miss the remainder of the Storm's finals campaign after dropping onto the lower leg of St George Illawarra prop Blake Lawrie on Sunday.

The ban means should the Storm lose to Parramatta in Saturday night's qualifying final but make the grand final, King will be eligible for selection.

King was referred straight to the judiciary for the dangerous contact charge, where the panel of Bob Linder, Ben Creagh and Sean Garlick determined the penalty.

It was graded as a 500-point penalty, but a 25 per cent discount was deducted from the final penalty due to the early guilty plea.

The panel also considered his clean record after 50 NRL games across four seasons after the NRL's counsel Peter McGrath asked for a four to five week suspension.

"This is an extremely dangerous manoeuvre that has a high risk of injury," McGrath said.

King's body "dropped" onto the bottom half of Lawrie's leg in the Storm's NRL win over the Dragons.

Lawrie was forced from the field, and stayed off for 20 minutes with a minor medial ankle strain before playing the final 33 minutes of the game.

Defence counsel Nick Ghabar argued fellow tacklers Christian Welch and Brandon Smith contributed to the awkward bend in Lawrie's leg, and therefore King was only partially responsible for the risk of injury.

However, the panel disagreed and hit King with a 500-point penalty - and with the guilty plea deduction he has 75 carryover points.

King has played just six games this season and could have been considered on the extended bench in Saturday night's qualifying final against Parramatta.

The NRL has begun stamping out the controversial tackle this season.

In August, King's Storm teammate Jesse Bromwich copped a one-match ban for a similar offence.

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

Storm coach Craig Bellamy later slammed Alexander's comment as "ridiculous", insisting no player in the NRL would go out to purposefully hurt a rival.

Previously, the Storm have grown frustrated of questions being raised over their tackling techniques almost routinely late in the season.