Roosters take Verrills' fight to NRL panel

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Sydney Roosters will roll the dice to clear Sam Verrills for Friday's NRL semi-final by risking a two-game ban to fight the grading of a careless high tackle charge.

The No.9 was hit with a grade two sanction for his shot on Brian Kelly in the Roosters' 25-24 win over Gold Coast.

Verrills has taken the early guilty plea, but will contest the grading at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.

If he's successful in downgrading the charge to a grade one, the 22-year-old will escape with a fine of $1150 and be free to play Manly in the sudden death clash in Mackay.

However, if he can't convince the panel he'll miss two games, meaning he wouldn't be available again this year unless the Roosters make the grand final.

The incident happened in the 36th minute of Saturday's win, causing Kelly to leave the field with a bloodied nose after Verrills' shoulder contacted his face.

The Roosters will argue their No.9 was simply bracing for contact and Kelly slipped into the tackle.

On Monday Roosters skipper James Tedesco defended the young hooker who has been a cleanskin since the start of his NRL career in 2019.

"Sammy's the future of the club, he'll be our No.9 for a long time and it's a tough one," Tedesco said.

"I feel like there was no real intention or malice in it but he could miss one or two weeks.

"It could be a big loss for us if he does miss time because he's been our No.9 playing 80 minutes for most of the year now.

"He's just getting better and better every week.

"He's never intentionally got suspended or fined I don't think, so hopefully he's all right."

Verrills has played the past 12 games of the season after recovering from an ACL injury in 2020 before a detached retina kept him sidelined for six weeks mid year.

Meanwhile, the Roosters are also hoping Siosiua Taukeiaho will be fit to face the Sea Eagles.

The veteran forward lasted just two minutes against the Titans due to a calf injury and is in doubt for the elimination final.

"The calf strain has been hampering him for a couple of weeks now, hopefully it's not too serious but he didn't last too long," Tedesco said.

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