Veteran hard-hitter Jared Waerea-Hargreaves won’t be providing backup for the Roosters in their crucial game against the Rabbitohs this Friday, owing to a three-match suspension for striking. The robust forward, however, will face the NRL judiciary on Tuesday evening, with the hope of obtaining a downgrade on a dangerous contact charge. If successful, he could rejoin the line-up for the preliminary finals, provided the Roosters make the cut.
Waerea-Hargreaves conceded an early guilty plea for a grade 1 striking offence after an altercation involving a headbutt on Stefano Utoikamanu, a Wests Tigers forward. If this charge hadn’t been acknowledged, there could have been a potential four-match suspension.
This suspension stems from an earlier instance of foul play involving a late hit on Apisai Koroisau, which resulted in a grade two charge. With only 15 minutes left in the game, he acted recklessly, which could detrimentally impact the Roosters‘ standing in the finals. As a countermeasure, the club plans to gamble by seeking a penalty reduction to a $3000 fine.
After being penalised for a high shot, which resulted in a session in the sin bin, Waerea-Hargreaves could face a four-match absence from the field if the judiciary panel upholds their decision. However, he’s only two games short of joining the illustrious 300 club.
If the judiciary rules in his favour, he can return to the pitch in the third week of finals. But for that to happen, the Roosters need to claim victory over the Rabbitohs and depend on other results to secure their spot in the top eight.
Luke Keary, the team’s five-eighth, has accepted a $2500 fine for a dangerous throw from the same match. The club awaits with bated breath, hoping star centre Joseph Manu bounces back from a hamstring injury from the first half, in time for their face-off against the Rabbitohs.