Sydney Roosters star Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is free to face Newcastle on Saturday after beating a dangerous contact charge at the NRL judiciary.
Waerea-Hargreaves was staring at a two-game ban for his grade-one charge after clashing heads with North Queensland firebrand Josh McGuire last Sunday.
But the three-member panel of Tony Puletua, Bob Lindner and Sean Garlick took just 10 minutes to find Waerea-Hargreaves not guilty on Tuesday night.
"Obviously I would like to thank the panel and my solicitor James McLeod," Waerea-Hargreaves said after the 75-minute hearing.
"We thought we had a fair case. We gave it a really hot crack and came away with the result. So really happy and really pleased."
Waerea-Hargreaves was just one game into his return from a two-game suspension for another dangerous contact charge earlier this year.
However, he again landed in hot water after being tackled by Gavin Cooper and Shane Wright which resulted in a collision with McGuire.
Waerea-Hargreaves admitted his head made minor contact with McGuire, but described the impact as a "tap".
It was part of a compelling defence from the New Zealand international, who claimed his arms were pinned and it was an act of self-preservation.
"I can honestly say it was an instinctive reaction for me to duck my head, tuck my chin, to avoid dangerous contact with McGuire," Waerea-Hargreaves explained.
"I feel it's the best outcome for this situation."
NRL counsel Peter McGrath insisted the contact was more than minor, and argued the 30-year-old had directed his head towards McGuire.
Waerea-Hargreaves immediately dismissed the notion.
"I feel like I could've done a few things. In this situation I made the right choice. If I went squarely, we would be had flush contact," he said.
"You can obviously see (player No.1) yanking (my arm) down which puts myself in a vulnerable position.
"The option I had was to go down openly and possibly cop a forehead or both of our faces smash together and I'd be sitting here with a broken face."
Waerea-Hargreaves' inclusion is a major boost for a Roosters side that have lost five of their past seven and face a stern test against the Knights.
Australian Associated Press