In a masterful performance, the Penrith side triumphed 26-6 against the Storm, gaining a one-game advantage over the Broncos and maintaining their top spot on the ladder halfway through Round 23. This victory affirms their bid for a third consecutive premiership win.
However, the Panthers may have to navigate the future matches without Luai. The player has been reported for a high tackle against Storm‘s powerhouse, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, raising concerns about a possible sideline sentence.
Replay footage revealed Luai’s right shoulder connecting with Asofa-Solomona’s head, an act which might be judged as an illegitimate move by the NRL.
Fox League commentator, Dan Ginnane, brought attention to the contentious issue on live television, hinting at possible post-match debates.
Luai’s previous records indicate a probable three-match ban if his shoulder charge is considered foul play. With four rounds to go in the NRL season, his absence could be significant.
In the case of Luai’s suspension, Jack Cogger is predicted to serve as the most likely replacement for the five-eighth position, as he successfully stepped into the role earlier this season when Nathan Cleary was recovering from a hamstring injury.
Luai found himself at the heart of another controversial incident during the game, when he accused an opponent of stepping on his head during a tussle that ensued following a tackle he made on Marion Seve.
Penrith’s Scott Sorenson calmed the agitated Luai while simultaneously reminding him of the importance of concentrating on the game, and Gee, taking the reins, discouraged Luai from escalating the situation. Luai agreed, acknowledging possession was in their favour.