Canberra forward Sia Soliola is facing a likely lengthy suspension after being referred straight to the NRL judiciary for his tackle which left Billy Slater unconscious.
The match review panel put no grading on the charge of dangerous contact with the head or neck on Sunday as it sent Soliola to a Tuesday evening judiciary hearing with no provision for an early plea.
Referees boss Tony Archer had already declared the Canberra forward should have been sent off for the ugly incident which forced Melbourne star Slater off GIO Stadium on a medicab on Saturday.
Beaten and losing touch with the top eight, Canberra's season of woe is set to get even worse with winger Jordan Rapana also facing suspension.
Rapana faces a one-two week ban after being cited for a shoulder charge on Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Soliola's late, swinging arm to Slater's head wasn't enough to convince referee Matt Cecchin to give him his marching orders early in the second half.
In Soliola's defence, Slater's body height was dropping when struck but rugby league great Andrew Johns saw no excuse.
"The ball was passed," Johns said on the Nine Network's The Sunday Footy Show.
"It's a cheap shot, he should've been sent off. I know Sio Soliola's a lovely guy, but that was a cheap shot; as cheap as they come, and (he) should've been sent off."
Johns claimed there was a defensive trend of late tackles in the game that was contributing to a scarcity of high-standard playmakers.
"Every weekend I see halfbacks go to the line and pass, and then a second or two later the guy 22 kilos bigger than him just smashes him from behind in the ribs or kidneys.
"How can we produce smaller guys who are creative when they pass the ball and big blokes come from behind and smash them in the kidneys and ribs."
Archer issued a statement on Sunday night saying that, based on a review of the tackle, the incident met the indicators for a send off.
"The match officials always have the option of a send off and I expect them to use it in instances of serious foul play," he said.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy had no doubt.
"If it's not a sending off then I don't know what is a sending off," Bellamy said.
He compared it with Cameron Munster's sin-binning in the final minute for a professional foul.
"An incident like that happens, and you're on report so he's going to come under scrutiny without doubt, but then we lose a player for 10 minutes for holding on to someone," Bellamy said.