Roosters veteran Jake Friend has come under scrutiny for a dangerous throw on South Sydney’s Greg Inglis in Saturday night’s preliminary final.
While Melbourne star Billy Slater will fight for his availability in the NRL grand final at the judiciary following his controversial shoulder charge, Friend has more wiggle room.
The Roosters coughed the ball up inside their own half and Friend sparked a scuffle when he tipped Inglis on his head.
“Jake could be in a bit of trouble if they do go on to win the game,” Braith Anasta told Fox Sports.
“He’ll have a case to answer.”
While concerns that Friend could be suspended will remain until the NRL’s match review committee releases its findings, the player’s clean record and the nature of the throw are in his favour.
He has not been charged in the past two years and has no carryover points, with an early guilty plea on a grade-one charge freeing him for the grand final.
Jake Friend hasn't been charged in the past two years, so it would need to be a grade-two dangerous throw charge or worse for that tackle to place his grand final hopes in doubt. Would be free to play with an early guilty plea if charged with grade one. #NRLRoostersSouths
— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) September 22, 2018
However, if he is handed a grade-two charge, he will need to join Slater at the NRL judiciary.
The Roosters and Souths were level at 4-all at half-time, with Cooper Cronk nursing a shoulder injury after a hit just prior to the break.
Cronk stayed out on the field as the Chooks secured a 12-4 win over the Rabbitohs to set up a clash with Melbourne.
Storm hire ‘shoulder charge whisperer’ to help free Billy Slater
Melbourne will push to have Billy Slater’s judiciary hearing brought forward to Monday after hiring gun defence counsel Nick Ghabar to help free the retiring star to play in his farewell grand final.
Slater’s hopes of playing one last NRL game will rest in the hands of a three-man judiciary panel of ex-players next week, after he was hit with a grade-one shoulder charge offence for Friday night’s hit on Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki.
Melbourne were expecting their veteran fullback to go uncharged over the try-saving hit that pushed Feki into touch, but swept into action quickly after receiving the news on Saturday morning.
The Storm confirmed immediately they’d challenge the charge and hired Ghabar, who is considered as one of the best lawyers available when players attempt to evade a ban and has become somewhat of a ‘shoulder charge whisperer’.
Ghabar was responsible for freeing Jack Wighton to play in the 2016 finals series after an apparent shoulder charge on Michael Ennis, when the Canberra fullback’s prospects looked bleak.
He also successfully defended Sam Burgess against a shoulder charge claim at the start of last season after he cleaned up Canterbury’s Greg Eastwood.