Smith cops NRL ban for ‘wishbone’ tackle

For the first time in almost a decade, Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith will be forced to watch on from the sidelines this weekend because of suspension.

Smith has been rubbed out of Saturday’s NRL clash with Manly after pleading guilty to a wishbone tackle on Kevin Proctor.

Smith on Monday accepted the one-match ban for a grade-two dangerous contact charge for pulling former teammate Proctor’s leg during Saturday’s win over the Gold Coast.

During his record-breaking 368-game NRL career, Smith has regularly been accused of being a dirty player – though his rap sheet would suggest otherwise.

The last time the Queensland and n skipper copped a suspension was during the 2008 finals series when he missed the preliminary final against Cronulla and 40-0 grand final defeat to Manly.

His only other ban was for a dangerous throw in 2003.

Some experts including eighth Immortal Andrew Johns and commentator Phil Gould believe Smith is lucky not to be facing a longer ban.

Smith was adamant after the match there was no malice in the tackle, referring to his close friendship with Proctor following their nine seasons together at the Storm.

Brandon Smith, widely considered Smith’s heir apparent, will likely wear the No.9 jersey against the Sea Eagles at AAMI Park on Saturday.

After debuting last year and playing 10 first-grade games, Smith, 21, is set to start for the first time.

“We’ve shown over the year we’ve been able to cover positions,” centre Will Chambers said.

“We’ve had Jesse (Bromwich) out for a few weeks, we covered well. Suli (Vunivalu) we covered well there.

“We’re in a good space whoever plays on Saturday night.”

Meanwhile Storm prop Sam Kasiano will also miss the premiers’ clash with the Sea Eagles after accepting a one-match ban for a high tackle on Jarrod Wallace.

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