Graham, Rapana set for long NRL bans after big hits

The NRL has come down hard on Cronulla co-captain Wade Graham, who is facing up to four games on the sidelines for his high shot on South Sydney's Davvy Moale.

Sin-binned for the hit late in the Sharks' 27-18 opening-round loss on Saturday night, Graham was handed a reckless high tackle charge on Sunday morning.

Reckless is one of the league's most serious charges, with Souths winger Taane Milne the only other player to have copped the grading in the past 18 months.

Graham will miss three matches with an early guilty plea, or four if he attempts to fight or downgrade the charge and fails.

After the match both South Sydney and Cronulla officials agreed there was no ill-intent from Graham as he attempted to swing the momentum of the match with his hit on Moale.

"Obviously with the type of game that it was and the points we needed to make up," said fellow Sharks co-captain Dale Finucane, who was suspended for dangerous contact in similar circumstances last year.

"Wade was looking to change the momentum and cause a collision to get the ball back for us.

"I think any player in any team would want to be doing that."

Graham was not the only player to feel the wrath of the judiciary on Sunday morning.

Canberra winger Jordan Rapana is also facing up to a four-game ban for his shoulder charge on Scott Drinkwater in the 19-18 loss to North Queensland.

While the hit was charged as a grade one, Rapana's poor record at the judiciary in the past year means he cannot accept a fine and will instead cop a three-game ban with an early guilty plea.

Cronulla second-rower Briton Nikora was charged with a grade-one shoulder charge but can accept a fine and play next week.

Sharks forward Braden Hamlin-Uele and Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt were the other players charged out of Saturday's games, with both able to take fines.