Titans to fight James judiciary charge
The Gold Coast Titans have decided to contest the Dangerous Contact charge levelled at inspirational forward Ryan James in a desperate attempt to have him available for Friday's blockbuster against the Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium.
Rewarded for his recent good form by being named in the starting team to face Brisbane, the only issue facing James now is whether he and his legal team can convince the judiciary that he has no case to answer.
If James had pled guilty to the charge he would have missed the Broncos clash with 105 penalty points and by contesting the charge he risks only an additional 35 carry-over points if he is unsuccessful.
The incident in question happened five minutes into the second half after Raiders winger Jordan Rapana had taken a quick tap on the 20-metre line. James had got back to affect the tackle and held on to Rapana by only his left leg.
Rapana can be seen remonstrating with James following the play-the-ball but Titans coach Neil Henry is confident they can have the charge against him dismissed.
"I was surprised [by the charge] and when we looked at it it was pretty innocuous," Henry said on Tuesday.
"It's an awkward tackle, a big man against an agile winger on a quick tap and trying to get a hold of a leg and just hold on and then release.
"There was no penalty for it, there wasn't excessive holding on to the leg and I was surprised it even came through.
"I didn't even notice it in the game, he didn't notice it in the game, we just got on with it.
"The match review committee have seen something in it and they've come up with a charge and we need to go down there and defend it.
"We're going down there with the view that hopefully the judiciary will see fit to waive the charge."
With a relatively short turnaround ahead of their only Friday night game for the first 18 rounds the Titans also have injury concerns over five-eighth Tyrone Roberts (knee) and hooker and captain Nathan Friend (concussion).
Eddy Pettybourne, Cameron Cullen and Kierran Moseley have all been named on an extended seven-man bench but Henry insisted that uncertainty surrounding their team should have no impact on their performance.
"It's only a disruption if we let it be," Henry said. "If Ryan was to miss the game then someone has to step in and go again.
"Eddy Pettybourne has had a game [in the Intrust Super Cup] and Lachlan Burr was very good so we've got replacements there.
"It would be a loss for us but that's out of our control at the moment, we'll go there and try and mount a defence for that and see how we go.
"Certainly Tyrone Roberts if he's unlikely to play, we need to look at a shuffle there. Cameron Cullen has been very good at the local level and trialled really well against Souths in his last outing against an NRL side so we feel that we've got the depth to cover those positions."