Rugby League NRL - Brisbane Broncos v  New Zealand Warriors , Suncorp Stadium , Brisbane Australia -   11 March 2016
Warriors' Ben Matulino in action
Jason O'Brien / www.photosport.nz

Vodafone Warriors prop Ben Matulino is free to play the Melbourne Storm on Sunday after he was found not guilty of a shoulder charge on Brisbane's Corey Oates at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Matulino's defence team argued that he was bracing for contact, and that the involvement of a second tackler meant he couldn't properly wrap his arms around Oates. 

Their evidence suggested the tackle was not by definition a shoulder charge, and the panel agreed, clearing the Kiwi front-rower to play at Mount Smart Stadium this weekend. 

The incident took place late in Friday's 15-point loss at Suncorp Stadium, with Oates set to be sidelined for up to six weeks with a shoulder injury.

Matulino had been looking at a three-game ban for the grade one offence after being charged for a similar incident on St George Illawarra's Gareth Widdop last year.

This story was first published on NRL.com

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