Andrew Fifita cops 3-match suspension, misses Mt Smart test

Mate Ma'a Tonga have been dealt a major blow ahead of Saturday's test against the Kiwis in Auckland with star prop Andrew Fifita being ruled out by suspension.

Fifita appeared in front of the NRL judiciary, via video link, on Tuesday night in an attempt to have a dangerous contact charge downgraded but was unsuccessful. 

If the giant prop could have got the charge downgraded from a grade two to a grade one he would have escaped a ban and been free to take on the Kiwis at Mount Smart Stadium. 

He had earlier plead guilty to the charge and only contested the grading.

His dangerous contact charge resulted from a crusher tackle on Canberra's Ryan Sutton during the Cronulla Sharks 22-20 victory on Thursday night.

Fifita has been banned for three matches meaning he will also miss the Sharks next two NRL games.

Mate Ma'a Tonga coach Kristian Woolf named Fifita to start at prop pending the result of the judiciary hearing.

His omission was likely to see former Kiwis prop Addin Fonua-Blake come off the bench to start with South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Junior Tatola moving onto the interchange.