Raiders firebrand Corey Horsburgh will be suspended for four weeks and Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves a whopping seven weeks after both saw appeals rejected at the NRL Judiciary on Tuesday night.
Horsburgh was challenging a three-game ban over a shoulder charge on Brisbane’s Corey Jensen, but will now be sidelined for four weeks – which means his season will be over unless Canberra makes an unlikely charge to the grand final.
Reacting to the decision on NRL 360, Sea Eagles star Aaron Woods said he was shocked.
“Gobsmacked. I can’t believe it,” Woods said.
“I thought it was a great hit… he’s hit him square on so it’s hard to really wrap your [arm] the way he hit him.
“You can sort of see the arm comes up as he makes contact… that’s not a shoulder charge. When we know it’s a shoulder charge the ref will penalise it straight away. It was play on, Jensen got up not a care in the world.”
Dale Finucane added: “I’d be disappointed with that result. The action we were trying to get out of the game was the traditional arm across the body which put you in a vulnerable position, head on shoulder contact. I didn’t see any of that in the criteria for that tackle.”
Waerea-Hargreaves was cited twice for separate incidents involving Api Koroisau and Stefano Utoikamanu during a fiery clash against the Wests Tigers last Saturday.
The Roosters star accepted a three-game ban for striking after cameras caught the Kiwi veteran headbutting Utoikamanu.
However, Waerea-Hargreaves disputed the grading of a grade two dangerous contact charge for a late shot on Koroisau in an attempt to have a three-game ban downgraded to a fine.
However, his appeal failed, which will see him miss four games for that incident and three for the striking charge for a total of seven games.
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Horsburgh’s 4 week charge upheld | 00:34
‘VERY DISAPPOINTED’ HORSBURGH BANNED
Fiery Canberra forward Corey Horsburgh won’t play again this year unless the Raiders make the grand final after he was slapped with a four-game ban for a shoulder charge on Corey Jensen that’s the latest blow for the Green Machine ahead of their must-win match against the Sharks.
The judiciary panel of Sean Hampstead and Bob Lindner listened to a 40-minute hearing and took just 25 minutes to find Horsburgh guilty with a unanimous verdict.
Horsburgh could have accepted a three-game ban but risked the extra week after the Queensland forward decided to fight his grade one charge for a tackle in the 79th minute that wasn’t penalised.
“I’m obviously very disappointed with the result,” Horsburgh said.
“I just wanted to thank Nick for representing me
“I think four weeks is a bit much, but it is what it is.”
Judiciary counsel Patrick Knowles said that there was “no doubt that the contact was forceful” and that neither arm was trying to wrap in the tackle, with Horsburgh doing himself no favours by clenching his fist in the contact.
“There can be no doubt that the contact involves Horsburgh’s upper arm makes direct contact with the ball carrier,” Knowles said.
“There is no attempt to use the arm here.
“Shoulder charges are illegal in rugby league because the greater levels of risk that a player can exert using a shoulder alone is dangerous.”
Defence counsel Nick Ghabar tried to sway the panel with several key arguments based on eight camera angles that proved the contact wasn’t careless and that it was a legitimate front-on tackle made by a player trying to wrap his arms.
Ghabar claimed: “The defender won the collision and this was a legitimate tackle, there was nothing illegal about it. He didn’t angle in or tuck his arm.”
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Ghabar argued that the first contact was made by Horsburgh’s right pectoral area and that his right arm was never tucked in, although Knowles shot that down because that’s not a key element in a shoulder charge.
The main submission was that Jensen put his bumpers up which stopped Horsburgh from extending his right arm in a wrapping motion and gave the false impression that it was a shoulder charge.
But the judiciary panel ruled that there was no attempt to wrap the right arm and that the clenched fist meant he wasn’t trying to make a conventional tackle.
Horsburgh will now miss Sunday afternoon’s game against Cronulla, with the winner set to host a final next week, with the Raiders an outside chance of missing the top eight if results go against them.
The verdict was not music to the ears of diehard Raiders supporter Simon Tayoun who waited outside Rugby League Central decked out in Canberra gear and his trademark drum.
It’s another blow to the Green Machine who will be without veteran prop Josh Papalii for the rest of the season due to a biceps injury.
JWH COPS MONSTER BAN AFTER FIFTH CHARGE OF 2023
Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has copped a whopping seven-game ban after he failed in his bid to have a dangerous contact charge downgraded at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.
Waerea-Hargreaves – who has now been charged five times this year – had already accepted a three-match suspension for a striking charge for headbutting Wests Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu after a scuffle broke out following his late shot on Api Koroisau.
The Roosters chose to roll the dice in a bid to have their veteran prop available for the preliminary final if they get their far, with the club hoping to have the grade two charge reduced for dangerous contact on Koroisau which would have resulted in a $3000 fine.
But the judiciary panel of Bob Lindner and Sean Hampstead unanimously found him guilty, with the ban upgraded to four matches which means he’ll miss the entire finals series and the trip to Las Vegas next year unless the club argues to the NRL that he would have been picked for the end of year Tests.
They determined that the Roosters star “at the very least” acted in a highly careless fashion and that there was a “high risk of injury” placed on a vulnerable kicker.
Judiciary counsel Patrick Knowles said that Waerea-Hargreaves rushed out of the line and hit Koroisau after he kicked with the force of “a metaphorical freight train” in a tackle he described as being “reckless”.
He argued that the Roosters prop “foresaw the danger of the contact” but went through with it anyway which increased the risk of injury.
“That tackle is at best always going to be around the very top of the shoulders,” he said, claiming the 34-year-old always had eyes for Koroisau.
“There’s no way in which you reconcile from the evidence that there’s no contact with the head or neck.”
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Waerea-Hargreaves actually gave evidence and told defence counsel James McLeod that he was simply attempting to apply kick pressure and that he categorically did not make contact with the head or neck.
“My first contact is with his upper left shoulder and my torso,” he said of the incident which sparked a melee and saw him sent to the sin bin.
“I accept I was late, maybe even clumsy and maybe I got it wrong, but I definitely committed to the tackle and went through with the tackle.
“I feel like he rolled with my momentum.
“I accept I got this tackle wrong
“I wasn’t able to stop on a dime. It was a clumsy tackle.”
McLeod put forward that there was no evidence based on the eight camera angles that proved his client had made direct contact with the head or neck and that the lack of injury, whiplash or an HIA proved that his actions were careless.
The ban leaves Waerea-Hargreaves stranded on 298 games, with the veteran prop unable to help his team on Friday night when they battle the Rabbitohs with a spot in the finals on the line.
The Roosters prop declined to speak with reporters after the hearing.
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