NRL star slapped with lengthy ban
Canberra's Hudson Young has been banned for eight matches by the NRL judiciary after being found guilty of dangerous contact with a player's eyes.
In a dramatic two-and-a-half hours on Tuesday night at NRL headquarters, the judiciary dismissed evidence from Warriors victim Adam Pompey who spoke in defence of the Raiders' forward.
They also rejected Young's claims that he had not made any contact with Pompey's eyes as the centre was diving over on Saturday for a try.
The visibly upset Raiders' youngster was forced to sit through a further hearing to determine his ban, with the NRL pushing for up to 12 games.
The decision comes on the eve of Canberra's finals campaign, with his suspension to begin from Saturday's clash with Melbourne and extend into next season.
The ban is Young's second this season for dangerous contact with the eye. He was also banned for an ugly incident in round 12 involving Canterbury prop Aiden Tolman.
It was better news for Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves who was 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.