Rugby League

Canterbury Bulldogs forward David Klemmer in hot water over torpedo tackle

Bulldogs prop David Klemmer could be rubbed out for up to the first month of the season after a brain explosion in Canterbury's 20-0 trial victory against the Melbourne Storm.

While the Bulldogs were given some good news after skipper James Graham was cleared of a suspected broken rib, it was offset by the potential suspension to the NSW front rower, who appears to have reacted to a tackle on teammate Michael Lichaa in the previous set.

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The match review committee is set to charge the Canterbury firebrand with dangerous contact for what has been described as a "torpedo" tackle, which sparked a push and shove at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who will soon announce he has re-signed with the club, launched himself with little regard for his own body into the legs of Melbourne forward Kenny Bromwich, making no attempt to wrap his arms around the New Zealander.

In pain: James Graham on the deck after injuring himself during the Bulldogs' trial match with the Storm.
In pain: James Graham on the deck after injuring himself during the Bulldogs' trial match with the Storm. Photo: Renee McKay

It is understood Klemmer acted out of frustration at a Storm tackle, which involved Bromwich's brother Jesse, that left Lichaa struggling to get back to his feet.

Footage from the match shows Klemmer in the face of the referee, believed to be arguing about the treatment of his teammate who was held up by two players and tackled low by another.

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While Klemmer's dive into the legs of Bromwich was not a good look, the timing of the tackle could see him escape major sanction given the lack of cameras available for the pre-season trial.

It is understood there were only two cameras in operation for the match, with NRL films recording from the grandstand end of the ground.

ABC were also filming from the hill side of the ground, but neither were zoomed into the Klemmer incident.

If charged, it is likely the Bulldogs would fancy their chances at the judiciary given there is normally eight to ten different camera angles available to the panel.

Bromwich was not injured in the tackle, however, his teammates took exception to the challenge and engaged in a push and shove with Klemmer.

A grade one dangerous contact charge carries 100 points (one week), a grade two is 250 points (two matches), while a grade three could see Klemmer hit with 400 points (four weeks).

He will also have 20 per cent loading for non-similar prior offences after being slapped with a three-game ban for contrary conduct in the controversial Good Friday match against the Rabbitohs last year.

That means even a grade two charge will see him facing a three-game ban. However, loading to a grade one or three charge will not change the length of his suspension.

But it is not all bad news out of the Canterbury camp with the skipper a chance of lining up against Manly in round one.

It was feared Graham would be out for four to six weeks with a fractured rib. However, the Englishman was taken for scans after the victory against the Storm and was cleared of serious injury.

He also left the ground on crutches after suffering an ankle injury, but the Bulldogs insist it was just precautionary.

The fiery prop will be racing the clock to prove his fitness for round one, as will fullback Brett Morris who is struggling to overcome off-season knee surgery.

Klemmer, who picked up a rib knock in the match, has also been cleared of serious injury.

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