The Rabbitohs bid to end a 43-year premiership drought will go ahead without Luke after the 27-year-old was found guilty of a dangerous throw charge committed against Sydney Rooster Sonny Bill Williams in last Friday night’s 32-22 preliminary final win.
The two-game suspension means Luke will also miss out on New Zealand’s opening Four Nations hit out against Australia on October 25.
The panel took just 11 minutes to decide Luke’s fate, declaring the tackle left Williams in a “dangerous position”.
“Luke made a substantial contribution to this lift, a lift where player Williams is at risk of injury.”
A devastated Luke shook hands with the three-man panel of former players, including Mal Cochrane, Chris McKenna and Michael Vella, and opted to comment via Instagram after leaving Tuesday night’s hearing without providing evidence or speaking to the assembled media.
“Devastated but at the same time excited to still be part of this amazing 2014 journey. Time to rip it up,” he posted.
“Not the result we were after. Can only feel stronger for my brothers that will take the battlefield.”
“We will live to return everyone’s messages and thank you’s so much for sending your love. Now to focus on our game this weekend. Love you’s all make sure all your fans get out there. Support this great game we love.”
The Rabbitohs will likely call on capable replacement Api Koroisau to fill in for Luke after the 21-year-old provided ample support earlier in the season when the starting hooker went down with a shoulder injury.
Grand Final opponent Canterbury Bulldogs will also be without their No.1 hooker Michael Ennis after the player declared he would not recover from multiple bone fractures in his left foot in time to play.
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