Broncos' Piakura free for finals after three charges

Brisbane forward Brendan Piakura has received fines from the NRL match review committee for all three charges he received in the 32-22 loss to Melbourne.

It is a huge boost to the Broncos after coach Kevin Walters was resigned to being without the 21-year-old for week one of the finals series.

Piakura was put on report for a careless high tackle on Storm winger Grant Anderson in the first half. He was then pinged for dangerous contact on livewire debutant Sua Fa'alogo in the second half before catching forward Alec Macdonald high.

The classy second-rower received grade one charges for all three offences and $1000 fines for each with an early guilty plea.

MacDonald was sent for a HIA in the 75th minute after the incident.

After the match Walters conceded Piakura could be in strife with the NRL match review committee.

"He is on report three times, so I dare say," Walters said.

"There wasn’t a lot in what he has done."

The MRC agreed with Walters' assessment.

Piakura has become a regular in the 17 as the season has gone on, with 26 tackles breaks and six line breaks in his 10 games providing impact.

Brisbane prop Xavier Willison, 21, limped off in the 47th minute with an ankle injury and will go for scans.

"It is not looking too good," Walters said.

The Broncos were without 11 starters against Melbourne due to injury, suspension and a decision to rest players before the finals but Walters said they would cope with any player unavailability.

"We are in a really strong position at our club with our depth," he said.

"While it is bitterly disappointing (to lose) ... if you look at the bigger picture we are in a really good place to move really well in the finals and that is what we are about.”

Walters said Piakura would "definitely" be in the 17 for the first week of finals.

The bench will be hotly contested with forwards Kobe Hetherington, Keenan Palasia, Martin Taupau and Corey Jensen among those fighting it out to join bench hooker Tyson Smoothy.

Brisbane could still finish first and claim the minor premiership if Penrith lose to North Queensland on Saturday.

Walters said the loss to the Storm had "left a foul taste in the mouth" but he had perspective.

"If you look back at the season we’ve had it has been a really good one, and we still could finish first," he said.

"I am going with that because I am always glass half-full.

"If anything, the loss will sharpen us up, which is a good thing."

Prop Pat Carrigan (foot) and captain Adam Reynolds (calf) missed the Melbourne clash but Walters said both would be available next week.

"They could have played ... They will be there next week, don’t worry," he said.

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