Parramatta Eels and NSW Origin winger Jarryd Hayne has chosen to fight his dangerous-throw charge grading at the NRL judiciary tonight; as the boom flanker tries to get himself back on deck for State of Origin 2 in Queensland on Wednesday.
The Eels flyer has pled guilty to a dangerous throw on Broncos veteran Tonie Carroll in the Eels 30-26 loss at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night, but in a desperate bid to play in Origin II Haynes and his legal team have chosen to argue the grading so he can be ready to take the field at the same venue next Wednesday.
If he is unsuccessful in having the grade-two charge reduced, Hayne will receive a 3 game ban, which makes him available for the third – and possible deciding – game in Sydney on July 2 but without another club game to press for selection.
“It’s going to be devastating [if I’m suspended] because I’m going to miss a fair bit of time,” Hayne said. “My Origin series is over. I’m risking a lot going in there but I need to beat the charge and get off.”
Alan Sullivan QC has the job of trying to have Hayne available and Eels officials spent yesterday scouring video footage to find other examples of similar tackles that attracted lesser charges. Hayne will also argue he did not hear referee Jason Robinson’s whistle when he picked Carroll up and dumped him.
“When I went in there, I didn’t hear the whistle and the blokes up top released Tonie when I had his legs,” Hayne said. “Hopefully, they can see it from that point of view and I’ll get cleared.”
Privately, the Blues camp is concerned about Hayne not earning a reprieve but more optimistic about Gasnier, who has been given until Friday to prove he has recovered from a hamstring tear suffered during a training session last Thursday.
While Canberra centre Joel Monaghan has been brought into the squad and put on stand-by for Gasnier – and even took his place in an alternate team photo yesterday – the Herald understands he is also a leading candidate to be used on the wing if Hayne is suspended.
Still, NSW selectors remain undecided over what to do if Gasnier does not respond to intensive treatment from team physiotherapist Tony Ayoub.
Penrith halfback Luke Lewis is being strongly considered but they are also toying with bringing in a specialist winger such as the Storm’s Steve Turner.
While Manly officials were bemused at the omission of former international centre Jamie Lyon, it is believed Monaghan was favoured because of his ability under the high ball in both attack and defence.
“You all know that Joel’s in camp at the moment, but he’s here to cover for Gasnier,” NSW coach Craig Bellamy said. “We’ll have a look at that wing spot when the decision on Jarryd comes. We’ve got a couple of options in mind â€¦ I don’t want to name names at the moment because if it doesn’t happen, they won’t be disappointed.”
Gasnier – who was voted the players’ player in NSW’s 18-10 victory in Origin I last month – is likely to undergo a fitness test on Friday, although Bellamy said it could be extended to the eve of the game should he respond to treatment early in the camp.
“I’m pretty confident,” said Gasnier, who refused to answer questions about possibly playing rugby union in France next year. “I’m more thankful than anything. I’m very thankful that the selectors and Craig have given me that amount of time to prove my fitness.”
Asked if he would rule himself out, Gasnier replied: “Not only that, Origin’s not a game when you can go in 80 per cent â€¦ If you’re not 100 percent early in the week, it’s not fair on yourself or the team.”
Asked if the question marks over the availability of two crucial outside backs were a concern, Bellamy said: “It’s a bit of a disturbance. Gaz is pretty important to the team. He’s worth the wait. We’re really confident that he’ll be right to play. Our physio seems to think he can be running with the team by Friday. We’re not going to push him or rush him.”
NSW: Brett Stewart; Jarryd Hayne, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Anthony Quinn; Greg Bird, Peter Wallace; Brett White, Danny Buderus (capt), Craig Fitzgibbon, Willie Mason, Ryan Hoffman, Paul Gallen. Res: Kurt Gidley, Anthony Tupou, Anthony Laffranchi, Steve Simpson.
Queensland: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Brent Tate, Israel Folau, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Steve Price, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Michael Crocker, Sam Thaiday, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Karmichael Hunt, Ben Hannant, Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison.