Unless they make it to the Grand Final, Corey Horsburgh will be out for the remainder of Canberra’s season. He failed to have a shoulder charge dismissed at the judiciary hearing on Tuesday night, despite the Raiders’ attempt to overturn the decision.
After a hit on Corey Jensen in the loss to the Broncos, Horsburgh initially received a three-game suspension. This outcome is a major setback for the Raiders, who are currently in seventh place. Their upcoming game against Cronulla at Shark Park on Sunday becomes crucial, as they need a win to secure a playoff spot (unless other round results go in their favor).
During the hearing, Patrick Knowles, the NRL’s legal counsel, argued that the tackle was, at the very least, careless, with no attempt to use the arm. He firmly stated that it was an obvious case of a shoulder charge.
In his defense, Horsburgh’s lawyer, Nick Ghabar, countered by saying that for the forward to be found guilty of shoulder charging Jensen, it must be proven that the hit was forceful, done without using the arms, and done carelessly. Ghabar argued that the prosecution had not succeeded in proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based on these three aspects.
With veteran prop Josh Papali’i already out due to surgery for a torn bicep tendon, Canberra’s chances in the rest of the season are further reduced. Papali’i sustained the injury in the defeat to Brisbane, which rules him out for the remainder of the campaign.
– Walker responds to critics’ power struggle allegations, while Cook warns that Latrell may retire early due to constant abuse.
– Bennett is in high demand, with multiple NRL expansion clubs lining up to offer him the inaugural coaching job.
– NRL News: Sharpe and Badger appointed in a first for the NRL, an agent brands the NRL a “racist game” over a text involving Latrell, and Tohu’s finals participation is in doubt.
– NRL Power Rankings: Forms of the top two and bottom six teams are set, as a logjam in the finals becomes apparent in the last weekend of matches.
Ahead of their game against the Sharks, Canberra has included Emre Guler in the starting lineup and potential debutant Hohepa Puru on the bench. Youngster Ata Mariota will have a more prominent role, and Pasami Saulo might also join the team from the reserves list.
In positive news for coach Stuart and the Raiders, halfback Jamal Fogarty trained on Tuesday and is expected to play against the Sharks, despite an eye injury.
Another player facing the judiciary on Tuesday night is Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Waerea-Hargreaves has accepted a three-game suspension for headbutting Wests Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu in the round-26 clash, which will keep him out until at least the preliminary finals.
In a bid to avoid an additional three-game suspension for a hit on Apisai Koroisau in the same match, Waerea-Hargreaves decided to challenge his grade-two dangerous contact charge.
If successful in downgrading the charge, the experienced Kiwi player will be fined $3000 but avoid any further suspension. However, if unsuccessful, he will be banned for three games. A ban would have implications for New Zealand’s end-of-season Test series and next year’s NRL season.
To secure a place in the finals, the Roosters must defeat the Rabbitohs on Friday night and rely on other favorable results.