AUSTRALIA prop Willie Mason has been banned for one match and fined £2,000 after being found guilty of striking Stuart Fielden in Saturday's 23-12 defeat to Great Britain.
Mason, who was supported by Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart, appeared before a Tri-Nations disciplinary judiciary in Sydney where he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
He told the panel he only punched Fielden in an act of self-defence when he thought the Lions prop was going to hit him.
But the three-man panel of Tri-Nations chairman Greg Woods, Australian nominee John Chalk and Britain's Nigel Wood decided Mason deserved to be punished and suspended him for one Tri-Nations match.
The result means Mason will miss the Kangaroos' next Tri-Nations match against the Lions but will be eligible to play in the final.
Mason was cited for punching Fielden in the opening minutes of Saturday's match at the Aussie Stadium, an attack which left the Great Britain prop with a broken nose.
Great Britain lodged a formal complaint at the end of the game, but Mason was lucky not to be before the judiciary over an incident in the 11th minute for a late challenge on Lions half-back Sean Long.
However, following a review from officials at the match's conclusion, Mason was cleared of a charge after the encounter was deemed legitimate.
Mason's suspension adds to the media storm over the lack of disciplinary action in international rugby league.
The big prop can claim he was a scapegoat after a number of indiscretions in the first three Tri-Nations matches, including Adrian Morley's high shot on New Zealand prop Ruben Wiki, went unpunished.