Smith avoids NRL ban over Mahoney slap

Melbourne's Cameron Smith was sent to the sin bin in their win over Parramatta.
Melbourne's Cameron Smith was sent to the sin bin in their win over Parramatta.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith will not miss next weekend's NRL preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters, despite being charged for his slap on Parramatta's Reed Mahoney.

Smith has been given a grade one contrary conduct charge for his skirmish with the Eels hooker Mahoney in the first half of the Storm's 32-0 semi-final win.

The charge carries a fine but no suspension, meaning Smith is free to take on the Roosters in the grand final qualifier.

Smith will have to pay $1350 with an early plea or $1800 if he contests the charge and is found guilty.

The incident led to Smith being sent to the sin bin for just the second time in his storied career.

With Mahoney holding onto Smith's jumper, the Storm veteran struck out several times before landing a blow on the young Eels No.9's head.

Smith denied after the match there was any malicious intent behind his actions.

"Absolutely not," Smith said when asked if he was trying to strike his fellow Queenslander.

"Reed had a really good hold of me after I kicked the ball and he wouldn't let go.

"I missed the mark and clipped him high. It wasn't intentional.

"But the ruling was that I got him. It's a consistent ruling with what happened last night so I'm happy with that."

Smith's punishment follows South Sydney's Cody Walker receiving a fine for a similar slap on Manly's Jack Gosiewski on Friday night.

Walker was also charged with contrary conduct and will be available for the Rabbitohs against Canberra on Friday night.

Mahoney said he didn't even realise he had been struck by Smith.

"I didn't really feel it, I just got up and it was a penalty," Mahoney said.

"We had a good laugh at the end."

Mahoney, who grew up on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, says he idolised Smith growing up and was trying to inspire his side by niggling the Melbourne legend.

"I just held on to him a bit longer and he didn't like it," Mahoney said.

"We're all good, we had a laugh at the end of it - that's footy.

"I've got a lot of respect for Cam Smith, he's done everything in the game."

Eels winger Maika Sivo is, however, facing a ban for his first-half shoulder charge on Storm flyer Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Sivo caught Papenhuyzen in the 10th minute of the game and has been cited with a grade one shoulder charge offence.

He'll miss the opening round of next year's competition with an early guilty plea but faces a two-match ban if he contests the charge and loses.

Australian Associated Press