PORT Macquarie forward Chris Piper has been suspended for nine competition games by the Group Three Rugby League judiciary.
This will include two matches Piper has already missed while he waited for the matter to be heard.
Piper was sent off by referee Bayley Dimarco early in the second half in the game against Old Bar at Old Bar on Saturday May 1. He was charged with striking and this was graded as serious, meaning it had to be dealt with by the judiciary. This was initially to be heard on Thursday May 13 but was postponed due to the unavailability of judiciary members.
Piper pleaded guilty at Tuesday night's (May 18) hearing. He was unsuccessful in having the charge downgraded from a grade four to grade three, but received a 25 percent discount due to his clean record.
"He was looking at 12 weeks,'' Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge explained.
A grade four charge carried a 1200-point and subsequent 12-match suspension while a grade three charge carried a 600-point penalty.
100 points equates to a match.
Sharks president Zac Newcombe was disappointed at the outcome of the result which he felt showed some inconsistencies in the judicial process.
"We had a bloke king hit Joey (Cudmore) in the back of the head three years ago which knocked him unconscious and the player involved only received three weeks," he said.
"They've made their decision and we understand that, but we're not happy about it although we do understand seriousness of what happened with Pipes.
"There are some inconsistencies with the judiciary."
Piper is expected to return in round 11.
Forster-Tuncurry's Beau Lowry has taken an early plea and will miss four games. Lowry was sent off in the game against Port Sharks at Tuncurry on Saturday May 15 and charged with using an elbow in a tackle.
Macleay Valley's Steve Walker had until noon on Wednesday to enter a plea. He was dismissed in the clash against Port City on Sunday May 16 and charged with a high tackle.
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