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5 days ago
Betting markets were closed after four furious hours of punting today amid concern Manly would rest several stars against the New Zealand Warriors this Sunday.
TAB Sportsbet shut down its market on the Warriors and Sea Eagles clash after taking over $64,000 in bets on the Kiwi side in head to head and line markets. Lasseters also closed their books on the match today after refusing a $10,000 bet on the Warriors one hour after they'd opened for betting on the fixture.
With two games of the regular season remaining Manly are guaranteed at least second spot while the minor premiership appears set to go to Melbourne. Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler named a full strength side for the trip across the Tasman yesterday but admitted today there were some injured players in doubt.
Onto the judiciary, and South Sydney's Dean Widders and Wests Tigers' Liam Fulton are free to face each other on Sunday to continue their clubs' finals charge, but St George Illawarra prop Jason Ryles has had his season ended at the NRL Judiciary.
Widders was facing a three-game ban for a grade two contrary conduct charge, but after a 60 minute hearing and 20 minutes of deliberation by the panel of former players he was found not guilty.
He was the first player charged under the NRL's new laws outlawing a tackle which applies unnecessary pressure to the head, neck or spinal column of an opponent for his tackle of Manly's Jamie Lyon last Monday.
Meanwhile, Fulton cleared himself of a grapple tackle charge.
But Ryles was found guilty of a grapple tackle and banned for two games in an extraordinary judiciary hearing that forced chairman Greg Woods to question Dragons defensive coach Max Ninness about the techniques taught to players.
Elsewhere, Sunday's blockbuster match between Wests Tigers and South Sydney is almost a sell out with just 500 tickets remaining.
With the winner of the match in a strong position to claim a spot in the finals, the club has only general admission tickets left available through the Wests Tigers office. Wests Tigers CEO Steve Noyce had earlier rejected a Souths push to have the match played at Telstra Stadium where the Rabbitohs claimed they could get another 20,000 people to the game.