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Jack Hetherington faces lengthy NRL ban

Warriors loan forward Jack Hetherington faces the fifth suspension of his short NRL career, staring down the barrel of up to five weeks on the sidelines for his hit on Martin Taupau.

Hetherington was charged with a grade-three careless high tackle on Saturday, for his hit that left Taupau concussed and him sin-binned in the Warriors’ win over Manly.

The Penrith firebrand can escape with a four-week ban if he pleads guilty, while that ban will extend to five games if he challenges it and loses at the judiciary.

Next week’s match against the Panthers, which he had already agreed to sit out, will count as part of the suspension.

Depending on the outcome, Hetherington’s record will stand at 21 NRL matches for five separate suspensions totalling either 10 or 11 weeks.

The 24-year-old has impressed at the Warriors this year, but interim coach Todd Payten said he needed to get the issues out of his game.

“He coughed the ball up again (against Manly), he did it last week. If he eradicates those parts of his game he’ll be high end,” Payten said.

Sea Eagles utility Lachlan Croker was the only other player charged from Friday night’s games, but will avoid a suspension with an early guilty plea for a crusher tackle.

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