NRL: Waerea-Hargreaves to fight one game ban

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is tackled. Photo / Getty Images
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves of the Roosters is tackled. Photo / Getty Images

The Sydney Roosters will risk long-term pain for short-term relief by contesting the ban threatening to rub Jared Waerea-Hargreaves out of Saturday night's NRL qualifying final against Manly.

Waerea-Hargreaves copped a grade one dangerous contact charge for his raised forearm into the throat of South Sydney's Chris McQueen in last Friday's minor premiership decider at ANZ Stadium.

In a delicious irony for Sea Eagles fans, he was facing a one-game ban even with an early guilty plea thanks to the carry-over points from a five-match ban Waerea-Hargreaves received for a high tackle on Manly's George Rose in round nine.

Without carry-over points, Waerea-Hargreaves would have been right to play against the Sea Eagles at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night with an early plea.

But desperate to shore up a pack already without the injured Boyd Cordner, the Roosters will put it all on the line by contesting the charge at what could be a dramatic night at Rugby League Central on Tuesday.

It is believed the Roosters will argue there was no intent in Waerea-Hargreaves' actions, with suggestions first contact was with McQueen's chest.

But the risk is great for the Roosters given a guilty finding could have the potential for carry-over points to again cause major damage during the latter stages of the finals.

Whereas an early guilty plea would have left Waerea-Hargreaves with a one-game ban and eight carry-over points, a guilty verdict at the NRL judiciary would saddle him with 38 points.

That would mean even the most minor indiscretion would cost the Roosters' forward leader another one-game ban later in the finals - in a worse case scenario robbing him of a grand final appearance for the most innocuous of incidents.

Speaking before learning of Waerea-Hargreaves' charge, Rosters captain Anthony Minichiello was hoping for the best.

"I'm hoping he can be there,'' Minichiello said.

"He said it himself - there was no intent in it, so let's hope he can get off that.

Asked how big a blow it would be to lose him against a Manly pack known for its size and intimidation, Minichiello said:

"He's important, there's no doubt about that.

"He's one of our front row leaders there.

"He carts the ball up very strongly for us, he's been doing it all year.

"We want him in the side.''

- AAP

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