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Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu to avoid ban over bizarre kung-fu ploy against Sydney Roosters

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Storm ace Suliasi Vunivalu will avoid suspension for a bizarre ploy to leap defenders NFL-style after being hit with a fine by the NRL’s match review committee.

The competition’s second highest try-scorer can accept a $1100 penalty for a grade one contrary conduct offence after trying to jump over Roosters defenders Connor Watson and Aidan Guerra in the minor premiership showdown at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

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Vunivalu jumps into strife

An unexpected lunge on the run by Storms winger Suliasi Vunivalu leaving not just the Roosters dumbfounded but his team mates too.

The tactic baffled commentators and viewers alike – as well as Vunivalu’s Storm teammates and coach Craig Bellamy – as he ran the ball back into the defence on a kick return. 

The Fijian, who is just one four-pointer shy of the Rabbitohs’ Alex Johnston in the race to be crowned the NRL’s leading try-scorer this year, was penalised for the mind-boggling manoeuvre.

Attackers are allowed to jump defenders in the NFL, but it’s banned in rugby league given the danger is presents to defenders.

“I think I have seen a couple of things like that closer to the try line but I’m not sure what Suli was trying to do there,” Bellamy said after the game.

“You could probably ask Suli and he might think it was a brain fade or a brain snap. It was a pretty big play in the game, they scored at the end of that penalty. Hopefully he learns a lesson and doesn’t do it again.”

Joe Stimson scored a late try to all but seal the minor premiership prize for the Storm, which would need to drop all of their last three games to leave the door ajar for the Broncos or Roosters to land top spot at the end of the regular season – and even then they would need to rely on points differential.

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