ST George Illawarra will be without Teuila Fotu-Moala for the remainder of the NRLW season after the club's bid to see her grade two dangerous contact charge downgraded was knocked back at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.
The Kiwi Ferns star was slapped with the charge after an awkward tackle on Brisbane hooker Lavinia Gould in the first half of the Dragons loss to the Broncos on Sunday.
The charge carries a base penalty of a three-match suspension, with an early guilty plea attracting a 75 point discount and reducing the penalty to two weeks.
The Dragons, who sit at the bottom of the ladder after the first round, would have needed to reach the grand final for her to play again this season, had they opted to take the early guilty plea.
It left little choice but to plead guilty and seek a downgrade which, with a discount for a guilty plea, would have seen Fotu-Moala free to play against the Warriors in New Zealand this weekend.
With the bid for a downgrade unsuccessful the Dragons will be without one of their marquee recruits for the remainder of their NRLW campaign, grand final included if they get there.
The decision, which is based on the same judiciary code applied to the NRL's 25-game regular season is sure it's sure to attract criticism given the harshness of missing 75 per cent of a season.
Should the Dragons not reach the grand final, Fotu-Moala will presumably not be eligible to play for any franchise until week two of next year's Women's Premiership.