Roosters ‘Sam Verrills fails court hearing for high shot on Titans’ Brian Kelly in playoff final

Roosters hooker Sam Verrills’ one-game suspension for his high shot has been extended to a two-game ban after he failed in his NRL appeal.

After Verrills was hit with a one-game ban for his high shot over Titans center Brian Kelly in Saturday’s elimination final victory, he and the Roosters pleaded guilty early, but attempted to reduce the charge of suspension to a fine.

Verrills’ unsuccessful challenge means the 22-year-old will miss not only the Roosters’ knockout semi-final clash with the Sea Eagles on Friday night, but also the Tricolors’ preliminary final game if they get that far.

Therefore, Verrills will only return to the pitch this season in the unlikely event that the resilient but heavily under-equipped Roosters reach the grand finale.

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Verrills representative, attorney James McLeod, argued that the model “did very little harm”.

McLeod insisted Rooster’s second rower Sitili Tupouniua, who made contact with Kelly before Verrills, moved the ball carrier “probably eight or three inches” and into the path of Verrills’ right shoulder. , creating extenuating circumstances.

“(Verrills) has the right to place themselves before contact with Tupouniua and Kelly a fraction of a second before,” said McLeod.

“He doesn’t have time to adjust after the contact between Tupouniua and Kelly.”

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But NRL prosecutor Peter McGrath argued that Tupouniua’s touch did not lower Kelly’s head height or redirect her running line.

“There are very few mitigation features that would reduce the severity of the tackle,” said McGrath.

The panel that upheld Verrills’ original charge consisted of Queensland Maroons and Test Kangaroos great Bob Lindner, 2010 Dragons back rower Ben Creagh and former Storm and Cowboys lockdown Dallas Johnson.

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Verrills has only earned a regular spot in the Roosters’ 17 this season due to Jake Friend’s concussion battle, which led the Tricolors co-captain to retire from the game in April.

As coach Trent Robinson assesses how to fill the Verrills void, he can give Ben Marschke the No.9 jumper, inject Freddy Lussick to the side, or move Drew Hutchison from five-eighth to hooker.

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Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns said during Nine’s post-match coverage of the Roosters-Titans clash that he didn’t even think Verrills’ high shot on Kelly deserved a penalty.

“Kelly is falling, he can’t go away, Sam Verills has vowed to tackle him,” Johns said.

“But, if you look at Brian Kelly – his nose is broken. And if they’re going to be consistent… And you can compare them to other hits we’ve seen recently…

“For me, it’s not even a penalty. Brian Kelly falls, Sam Verrills is committed to the tackle, unfortunately there are crashes going to happen.

“But if they want to be consistent, Sam won’t be playing next week because they can’t change the decisions they’ve made over the past two months.”

If the Roosters lose to the Sea Eagles this week, Verrills will serve the second game of his two-game suspension in the first round of next season.

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