Kaufusi set to miss Origin as Storm beat Dolphins
Queensland are set to be without Dolphins second-rower Felise Kaufusi for the State of Origin opener after the enforcer was put on report for a high shot in Melbourne's 24-16 win at Suncorp Stadium.
A fired-up Kaufusi was sin-binned in the second minute of Saturday's clash for a swinging arm that collected his former Storm teammate Christian Welch in the head.
Kaufusi was rubbed out for four games earlier in the season for a late and high shot on Newcastle's Jackson Hastings.
The 31-year-old was set to be picked for the Maroons for the series opener in Adelaide on May 31 but the nature of the hit on Welch, combined with his record, will almost certainly count against him.
Kaufusi's likely absence for the Maroons has opened the door for Gold Coast second-rower David Fifita to win selection when the Queensland side is named on Monday.
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett said Kaufusi's high shot was "no big deal".
"There was nothing major about it and the player wasn't concussed. He didn't have to leave the field," Bennett said.
"If he does get a charge, I don't think it will be a high charge."
Bennett suggested a fine should suffice.
"Wasn't there an Origin player (Jarome Luai) the other night who touched a match official? He is playing Origin next week (for NSW), isn't he? He got a fine, didn't he?
"It looks like (Kaufusi) may have hit him in the mouth or under the chin, but I didn't think it was vicious or malicious."
The Dolphins will have more concerns when the match review committee convenes on Sunday after second-rower Kenny Bromwich was put on report for dangerous contact on Storm fullback Nick Meaney when his former teammate was on the ground.
Storm back-rower Eliesa Katoa was put on report for a hip drop tackle but in general play he was dynamic. The former Warrior crashed over with brute strength and then showcased his ball playing skills to put Reimis Smith over.
The 23-year-old is proving to be one of the buys of the year and has been a key figure in the Storm's surge to a share of the premiership lead.
Katoa suffered an AC joint injury in the second half and will need to have scans on the injury, but not before playing a key role in the victory.
"He has been building, working on his combinations…and he has been great for us," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
"It looks like he is going to miss a few weeks. He is aggressive, a big mobile guy and he has world out our defensive system.
"We might not have got home if he hadn't been out there tonight."
Storm playmakers Cameron Munster and No.7 Jahrome Hughes were in masterful form. Hughes set Munster up with a sublime grubber as the duo carved up.
Munster has found his best form on the cusp of the Origin series where he will be selected in the halves with Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans.
The Storm led 24-4 at the break with the Dolphins' only joy a try to winger Jamayne Isaako after a silky pass from Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in front of 28,325 fans.
The Dolphins showcased the character they have been renowned for in the second stanza with Isaako scoring his second for the match and No.6 Kodi Nikorima crashing over from dummy-half.