Out! Waerea-Hargreaves cops one-match ban
It took the judiciary panel of Sean Garlick, Bob Lindner and Mal Cochrane just seven minutes to find Roosters forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves guilty of a grade one tripping charge on Tuesday night.
Waerea-Hargreaves, who has already missed three weeks for prior offences, will sit out a preliminary final against either Melbourne or Parramatta on Saturday week.
"I thought we had a really good case tonight,'' Waerea-Hargreaves said. "I'm really disappointed. But we have a lot of faith and depth in our squad. I am looking forward to preparing and getting our boys as well prepared as possible."
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Waerea-Hargreaves' legal council, James McLeod, argued that the forward's contact with South Sydney's James Roberts was merely a tackle gone wrong.
"It's not reckless, it's innocuous, it's clumsy," McLeod said. "It is not illegal because it was not reckless.
"He was clumsy, mis-executed a tackle, lost balance when Roberts pushed off his arm. He [Waerea-Hargreaves] makes it clear there is no recklessness intent.
In the 50-minute hearing, the NRL's legal council Peter McGrath argued that the forward's actions were not deliberate but rather displayed reckless intent.
McGrath told the panel Waerea-Hargreaves made contact with Roberts with his right foot to impede the Rabbitohs star from breaking through the line.
Tuesday night's judiciary appearance was the fourth this year for Waerea-Hargreaves. The match review committee has charged the forward a total of six times over the course of the season for a total of three weeks' worth of suspensions.
Normally, a grade one tripping charge is an offence punishable with a fine but because Waerea-Hargreaves had already been convicted three times this season he was ineligible for a financial penalty.
Only seven days ago, the Kiwi international beat a high-tackle charge.
Tuesday night's verdict was a huge blow for the premiers and their chances of back-to-back NRL titles.
According to Fox Sports Lab, over the past two years the Roosters have won only 44 per cent of their matches when Waerea-Hargreaves isn't playing, compared to 77 per cent when he is on the field.
JWH 2019 RAP SHEET
Round 9: grade-one dangerous contact (crusher) - early guilty plea (zero weeks)
Round 11: grade-one dangerous contact (late) - guilty at panel (two weeks)
Round 17: grade-one dangerous contact (elbow) - not guilty at panel
Round 19: grade-one dangerous contact (late) - early guilty plea (one week)
Round 25: grade-one careless high tackle - not guilty at panel
Week one Finals: grade one tripping - guilty at panel (one week)