Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will have to beat a tripping charge to play in the Sydney Roosters’ NRL preliminary final after his bad record came back to haunt him.
Waerea-Hargreaves was on Saturday morning charged with the offence despite not being penalised on the field for an apparent trip on South Sydney’s James Roberts.
Souths players immediately complained about the act late in the 30-6 loss, after Waerea-Hargreaves appeared to raise his leg and make contact with Roberts.
The Roosters prop was charged with a grade-one trip, which will see him miss one match regardless of whether he pleads guilty or fights it at the judiciary and loses.
Waerea-Hargreaves would normally have been able to accept a fine for the charge, however he is ineligible for such a punishment after too many previous convictions this year.
It’s expected Waerea-Hargreaves will fight the latest charge given he has nothing to lose, and insisted after the match he had not attempted to trip Roberts.
“Not at all. I think he’s a bit fast in the middle there,” the Roosters prop told Triple M.
“I think I slipped. It’s all good.”
The 30-year-old had to overcome a high tackle charge to even play in Friday’s match, which also would have only attracted a fine if not for his previous convictions.
He was one of the Roosters’ best on Friday night, topping 100 metres in his opening stint and helping the Tricolours to an early 16-0 lead.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson claimed on Friday night the incident already risked becoming a trial by media.
“I just walked past and I saw the trial by media already happening,” Robinson said post-match.
“I saw someone looking at a phone and Channel Nine playing it over and over and over again. That was as much as I’ve seen.
“That’s where we’re at. I don’t think my opinion (will matter). The speed of play and all of that. My opinion is not going to count if we’ve already started doing all that.”
The maximum-convictions rule also controversially ruled South Sydney captain Sam Burgess out of Friday’s match for a hair pull the previous week.