Charged Hayne can play in grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Charged Hayne can play in grand final

27/09/2009 07:48:45 PM Comments (0)

Game on.

The NRL match review committee on Monday gave rugby league fans the fair fight they were craving after clearing the way for Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne and teammate Matthew Keating to take their place in next Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.

Hayne and Keating were both slapped with grade-one dangerous contact charges following incidents in Friday night's preliminary final win over the Bulldogs, but the penalty wasn't severe enough to see them rubbed out of the decider.

Eels chief executive Paul Osborne admitted the potential loss of Hayne would have had a devastating effect of Parramatta's chances of upsetting the Storm, with the Eels No.1 having virtually carried the blue and golds to the final weekend of the season.

"I think we would have struggled. Clearly he's been the most important player for us this year and it would have been a tough ask against a Melbourne outfit who boast any number of superstars," Osborne said.

"It's good news for us, but I must admit I'm a little perplexed that he's been charged with anything at all.

"Obviously it's a good result that he's been cleared and obviously a good result for Matthew Keating as well."

Storm counterpart Brian Waldron too welcomed the let-off, which has set up the tantalising grand final battle between rival fullbacks Hayne and Storm and Test custodian Billy Slater.

Waldron last year became embroiled in a bitter spat with judiciary members when Storm hooker Cameron Smith was rubbed out of the grand final thanks to a grapple tackle charge, but was happy to avoid the same controversial build-up for a second year in a row.

"Great players make great games," Waldron said.

"I think it's great for the game that they are both playing.

"We have not had an opinion either way on judiciary matters and nor should we.

"It's good that it is all done with now and we can all concentrate on the rest of the week."

Despite Osborne's bemusement at the laying of the charge, which came as a result of a knee to the head of Bulldogs winger Bryson Goodwin, he did admit to taking proactive measures to ensure the Dally M medal winner was given every chance of facing the Storm.

"I sent (leading barrister) Geoff Bellew a text message the minute he was put on report," Osborne said.

"We've been liaising with him and he had a quick look at it and he was pretty comfortable in his thinking that there wouldn't be anything major for us to worry about."

Match review committee chairman Greg McCallum admitted Hayne's attempt to avoid contact had worked in his favour.

"We looked at the more serious charge of dropping knees and it's clear that Jarryd's made an effort not to make contact with him with his knee," said McCallum, who also added that the fact that Hayne's grand final spot was in jeopardy played no part in determining the charge.

"He actually turns his left knee away and it's the side of his leg that makes contact over the top of his shoulders and his backside hits him in the head.

"The fact is he's still made contact ... for consistency we had to compare his against the other nine charged (in similar circumstances in 2009) and we felt there was some careless contact.

"It was consistent with other non-foot contact."

Of the Keating charge, which came as a result of a chicken wing tackle on prop Ben Hannant, McCallum said the influence of Eels teammate Nathan Hindmarsh had saved the young hooker from a heftier penalty.

"It's got some elements in there that concern us," McCallum said.

"As they fell to the ground Hindmarsh's body weight is on the back of him and it's the combined body weight as Hannant hits the ground that causes the problem.

"He's actually let go of him by the time they've hit the ground."

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