AAP Rugby

Waerea-Hargreaves cleared at NRL judiciary

By AAP Newswire

Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been cleared for Friday's blockbuster final after successfully arguing at the NRL judiciary that his hit on Liam Knight had been a "rugby league accident".

The Kiwi Test prop was found not guilty on Tuesday night of a grade-one careless high-tackle charge on Knight, despite the South Sydney prop suffering a nasty gash above his left eye and having to be taken from ANZ Stadium in a medicab.

Knight still has to pass concussion protocols to play the return clash between the two local rivals, however Waerea-Hargreaves will be free to play, setting the scene for a fiery match-up at the SCG.

"I'm really happy with the result and so looking forward to prepping as much as I can and getting into Friday against the Bunnies," a relieved Waerea-Hargreaves said.

NRL counsel Peter McGrath attempted to argue that the Roosters' prop was guilty of rushing into the tackle.

But the three-man panel of Mal Cochrane, Tony Puletua and Dallas Johnson took just 15 minutes to find Waerea-Hargreaves not guilty.

Waerea-Hargreaves gave evidence that he was attempting to plug a hole after Knight beat Boyd Cordner and that he was bracing to make a "catching tackle".

He argued that after Knight's left arm flicked him across the face, he turned his body and Knight fell into his bicep.

"I was hoping he would fall into my chest, this catching tackle. I flinched, opened up my body and he fell into my bicep," Waerea-Hargreaves said.

He also refuted that he acted carelessly, with his counsel James McLeod describing it as a rugby league accident.

"No, not at all do I think it was careless," Waerea-Hargreaves said before adding that he was unable to avoid contact with the head.

Meanwhile, Parramatta's Kane Evans will miss Sunday's elimination final against Brisbane after failing to have his careless high tackle charge downgraded at the judiciary.

Evans was seeking a downgrade from a grade two to a grade one for his hit on Manly's Brad Parker.

Evans's counsel Nick Ghabar argued that the first point of contact was made on Parker's left arm and the Eels prop bounced up from there.

He said that Evans intended to make a wrapping tackle but was wrong-footed after Parker stepped.

However, NRL counsel McGrath successfully argued that Evans attempted a "high risk, marginal option" tackle while Parker "lost consciousness by the time his head hit the ground".

"I had a fair trial and I'm disappointed but I'm just going to focus on the rest of the year and preparing my best for the finals," Evans said.