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Ryan relieved to beat tackle charge

By Philip Henderson 01/08/2007 10:32:32 PM Comments (0)

A relieved Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan claimed he would have let his NRL team down had he not escaped a two-match ban.

Ryan was cleared to play Friday's crucial clash with Parramatta after beating a grade two careless high tackle charge at the NRL judiciary.

The `Dogs backrower was facing a two-match ban for his shot on Jason Ryles on Saturday night which left the St George Illawarra prop stunned.

Despite admitting contact was made with the head, the club successfully argued Ryan only connected high because Ryles was already falling in a solid low tackle from teammate Jarrad Hickey.

Afterwards Ryan spoke of his relief at being free to play, with the `Dogs already undermanned by the loss of international forwards Willie Mason (wrist) and Mark O'Meley (torn hamstring).

"I had a feeling that if I missed the two games I would have let the team down, so it was very good to get through and be not guilty," said Ryan after the panel took close to half an hour to decide the verdict following the 80 minute hearing.

"I'm very relieved, very happy with the hearing. It dragged on a little bit, but they came up with obviously a good result for myself and the club and I can't wait to play Friday night."

As well as a series of still-frame photos, the club tendered two reports - one from a biomechanics expert Dr Andrew McIntosh and sports information technologist Warren Brennan.

`Dogs director Jim Hall said Brennan's report claimed Ryles dropped 27cm in 0.2 of a second between Hickey's hit and the time Ryan connected.

"Point two of a second is less than a blink of an eye," Hall said.

Ryan admitted after the hearing: "We went through a fair bit of footage and a lot of still shots, so I think the 0.2 of a second got me home."

Not only happy to avoid suspension, Ryan - who said he took great pride in "averaging 30 tackles per game" - was also pleased the verdict maintained his record of never being suspended because of tackle charge in more than 200 NRL and representative games.

"I didn't want a blemish on my record and I'm very happy that it's come out today," said Ryan.

NRL counsel Peter Kite claimed Ryan's left arm was always rising as he went to make the tackle, and argued that even if Ryles had not dropped, the Dogs skipper still would have struck the Dragons prop in the "neck or jaw".

But the Dogs successfully argued contact was unavoidable, with Ryan saying: "I think I was committed to the tackle to try and lock the ball up, I think there was no time to adjust to the tackle I was going to make."

Earlier, North Queensland centre Paul Bowman was suspended for one game after being found guilty of a dangerous throw on Wests Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs from Monday night.

Bowman, who was facing a one-match ban regardless of whether he entered an early plea, will miss the eighth-placed Cowboys clash with Canberra on Saturday.

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