Fa’asuamaleaui joins Kaufusi in Queensland Origin jeopardy

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Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has brushed aside concerns he could join Felise Kaufusi in being at risk of missing State of Origin I for Queensland through suspension.

Hours after Kaufusi was hit a three-game ban for his high shot on Christian Welch, Fa’asuamaleaui had his own issues in Gold Coast’s 20-18 loss to Canterbury.

Running the ball at speed, Fa’asuamaleaui raised his forearm and connected with Reed Mahoney’s head in a bumper-bar style incident.

The contact forced Mahoney off the field for a HIA, but the Bulldogs hooker returned after half-time.

The incident was not penalised but can still be reviewed by the match review committee and a charge handed down if deemed appropriate.

Fa’asuamaleaui is expected to start for Queensland in Origin I in Adelaide on May 31, and remains confident he will not be handed a one-game ban that will rule him out of the match.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui is confident he won’t be rubbed out of next week’s Origin opener.Credit: NRL Photos/Anthony Kourembanas

“I just think it’s a contact sport,” Fa’asuamaleaui said.

“ArticleObviously I am running as hard as I can and Reed gets out of the line as hard as he can.

“He is half my size, and obviously it’s going to be hard not to get away without a shoulder or whatever is in front of his face.

“I am just glad he got back on the field all right.”

Felise Kaufusi got on the scoresheet for Queensland in Perth last year.Credit: Getty Images

Fa’asuamaleaui was later penalised for lifting Tevita Pangai jnr in a tackle.

“There was no malice,” the Titans captain said.

“I was just trying to do an old-school tackle and get underneath him. It came off wrong.”

If either incident was to attract a grade-two charge Fa’asuamaleaui would be at risk of missing the match.

It comes as Kaufusi weighs up whether to challenge his charge and risk missing Origin II in the process.

The Dolphins second-rower’s poor judiciary record means he can only accept a three-game ban.

That would mean he is unable to play again until Origin II, putting his spot in the Maroons’ side for that match in jeopardy.

If Kaufusi was to try to downgrade the charge in a bid to play in game one and lose, his ban would extend to a fourth match, ruling him out of the second interstate fixture.

Slater said he would speak to Kaufusi before deciding whether to consider him for selection.

“I thought it was a silly act,” Slater said on Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.

“We’ll just have to wait and see over the next 24 hours what Felise wants to do. Whether he wants to fight it and make himself eligible for selection.”

If Kaufusi is ruled out, it will likely open the door for David Fifita to return to the Maroons team either on the bench or in the second row.

Fifita impressed despite the Titans falling to the Bulldogs, scoring one try and setting up another.

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