Soliola given five-match ban for Slater hit


Canberra Raiders forward Sia Soliola has been banned for five NRL matches for a dangerous tackle which knocked Billy Slater unconscious.

Slater was out cold after Soliola caught the Melbourne Storm full-back with a late, high tackle during the second half of the leaders' 20-14 win at GIO Stadium last Saturday.

Melbourne's medical report stated that Slater had no idea where he was and had no recollection of what he had done in the previous fortnight - during which time he had featured in Queensland's State of Origin triumph.

Soliola was on Tuesday suspended until Round 26, when the Raiders will ironically come up against the Storm at AAMI Park.

"I'd like to thank the NRL for giving me a fair hearing," Soliola said following the NRL judiciary.

"Obviously it's pretty disappointing losing five weeks, but I respect and accept the punishment that has been passed on. 

"Apologies to everyone who was affected by this, especially Billy and his family and the Melbourne Storm, as well as our own fans at the Canberra Raiders. 

"I know this has put a bad light on our game and I love this game because it's given me so much. I'm going to do the best I can to support this game and build the good image it's supposed to be."

Slater will not face Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday as Melbourne continue to monitor the Australia international, but Storm football director Frank Ponissi said they are hopeful he will face North Queensland Cowboys next Friday.