YOUNG star Ray Talimalie has been banned from playing before the finals.
In a sensational late-season development, Talimalie has been suspended for four games for abusive conduct.
Talimalie was cited following an incident at Laurie Daley Oval on Sunday and the charges were dealt with at a special meeting on Thursday night.
Group Nine operations manager Peter Ryan said Talimalie would not be eligible to play before the first round of finals on August 19 and would have a carry-over of 83 points under the judiciary system.
Ryan said Talimalie had been charged with several offences arising from an incident before the first grade game between Young and Junee at Laurie Daley Oval last Sunday.
Talimalie’s suspension comes as he leads the count for Group Nine’s Weissel Medal.
He has 17 votes to be sitting three clear of Gundagai’s James Smart and Luke Berkrey.
Temora’s Hayden Philp is next on 13, followed by Tumbarumba’s Robbie Byatt on 11.
For Young, the loss of Talimalie will be a shattering blow as the team strives to lock down third place on the ladder before the finals.
Young has the bye this week but will play Temora, Brothers, Albury and Tumut in their remaining games.
Meanwhile, Southcity captain-coach Nick Skinner knows there is much at stake against Gundagai at Harris Park on Sunday.
Three months after losing 24-22 to Gundagai at Anzac Park, Skinner is relishing the prospect of evening the score with the Tigers on Southcity’s turf.
“Winning would definitely be good for our confidence,” Skinner said.
Albury Thunder has the bye this weekend.