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Anthony Griffin running the show. Photo by Jeff Lambert (Penrith Panthers)

Penrith Panthers prop Sam McKendry has been found guilty of a grade one contrary conduct – contact with match official charge and will miss the club's clash with the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday.

The incident occurred in the 71st minute of the Panthers' win over the Roosters last Monday night, when McKendry came into contact with referee Jared Maxwell while protesting a forward pass which denied Penrith a try.

It took panellists Shaun Garlick, Mal Cochrane, Don McKinnon just 10 minutes to find McKendry guilty, with his one-week suspension also carrying an additional 91 carryover points.

Judicial council Peter McGrath successfully argued that McKendry's role in disputing Maxwell's decision was not his responsibility and this was evident in his pursuit of the official – where contact could have been avoided.

Defence council Leo Premutico argued then that McKendry's hand was raised prior to coming into contact with Maxwell and was accidental rather than careless. Moreover, he argued the Kiwi international did not purposely grab at or touch the official. 

McKendry spoke briefly during the hearing and said he was "talking with his hand" rather than trying to come into contact with Maxwell.

A displeased Panthers coach Anthony Griffin spoke after the decision was handed down and suggested a precedent has now been set moving forward in regards to coming into contact with the officials.

"I don't think anyone watching the game would have sat up in their lounge chair and thought that Sam McKendry had acted contrary to the conduct of the game, which is what he was charged with," Griffin said. 

"But we respect the fact you can't touch a referee so there's a precedent there. I expect there's going to be a lot more charges particularly with two referees on the field and the way things have happened over the last five to six weeks.

"It is a big call to miss a match but we'll respect the decision and we'll move on."

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