NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds capped a memorable 24 hours after having a dangerous throw charge downgraded at the NRL judiciary on Thursday night, allowing him to play for the Blues in game two of the Origin series.
Reynolds and Beau Scott were charged over their tackle on Queensland winger Brent Tate in the 28th minute of Wednesday night's Origin opener.
After helping lead the Blues to a 12-8 victory over the Maroons, Reynolds fronted the NRL tribunal at Moore Park on Thursday night.
Reynolds had pledged to fight the charge.
He pleaded guilty but sought a downgrade. Panel members Sean Garlick, Michael Vella and Paul Whatuira took 10 minutes to keep Reynolds' Origin dream alive.
The decision means he won’t miss a game, and, with the Bulldogs having a bye this week, he will play against Manly next Friday.
Reynolds did not speak after the hearing but stood beside Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle, who said the club considered requesting an extension to fight the charge, given the short preparation.
Castle said Queenslanders could “keep crying”, in reference to any conspiracy theories up north.
“It was a brave decision to challenge the grading,” Castle said. “Josh is one of those players who plays with a huge amount of passion but never plays with intent to injure anyone.
“It’s always a difficult process."
Reynolds' lawyer Nick Ghaber said Scott - who accepted a grade one dangerous throw charge for his role in the tackle - had contributed most to the "dragging motion" and that Reynolds had "no control" over the tackle.
He also said that the tackle started as a legitimate lifting tackle and there were no hands between the legs. The panel were shown six comparable tackles - instead of the usual three - during the 70-minute hearing.
"At no point do you see Reynolds place his hands or arms in between Tate's legs," said Ghaber, who was passed notes from Bulldogs coach Des Hasler during the hearing.
"The control exerted by Scott is a mitigating factor. Scott takes over the tackle. It wasn't the efforts of Reynolds that cause any significant force in that throw.
“We know control is a very important matter."
Tate said he had never been more frightened in the tackle but was uninjured.
An early guilty plea would have seen Reynolds miss two games.
NRL counsel Peter Kite said Tate had lost the capacity to protect himself in the tackle and the tackle had a moderate degree of risk. He also pointed to a worrying trend of an increase in dangerous throw suspensions - 10 in 2012 and 17 already this year.
"Reynolds stands up and clearly lifts Tate into a dangerous position," Kite said.
"Reynolds is the player lifting and putting Tate into a dangerous position. He was careless."