Hilder beat the contrary conduct charge slapped on him, where he allegedly spat at Melbourne winger Anthony Quinn, with video footage and evidence from Quinn failing to prove any intent.
The ruling is a significant one for the eighth placed Knights who have named Hilder to play in their crucial clash against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“It’s a bit of a relief to get let off,” said Hilder, who admitted being upset at being labelled a spitter by a fellow NRL player.
“I was pretty confident it wasn’t intentional.
“To see him come out and say he thought I actually meant to spit on him was a bit of a shock actually.
“Hopefully we can come up against him in the semis and I can get him back that way.”
Hilder claimed he didn’t recall the incident, which sparked a post-game scuffle when Quinn went after the Knights No.9.
Speaking via video link-up, Quinn admitted he didn’t see Hilder – who was marker – spit at him as he played the ball in the final minute of Newcastle’s dramatic 17-16 win on Saturday night.
“I looked away and wasn’t watching what was going on,” Quinn said.
“I felt a liquid substance hit my face.
“I’m not sure if it was intentional or not.”
From that moment Hilder was always going to get off, but it didn’t stop his defence team arguing the nature of the alleged spit was not the sort one would normally use to attack another opponent.
“If you’re going to spit on somebody, you’re going to summon up a gobful, not something like a spray of saliva … a scattergun thing which is shown on the video,” Hilder’s legal representative Bill Neild said.