Titans to contest James charge
Gold Coast Titans forward Ryan James will travel to Sydney on Wednesday to face the NRL judiciary after the club made the decision on Monday to contest the Grade 2 Careless High Tackle charge he picked up following Saturday's 19-18 win over the Wests Tigers.
James will plead not guilty to the incident in the 60th minute where he collected Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco in the head after Tedesco dropped to the ground after taking a bomb.
Subsequent scans on Sunday revealed that Tedesco had suffered two breaks to his jaw and will miss the rest of the season while James was looking at a week on the sidelines with an early guilty plea.
Given how low to the ground Tedesco was at time of impact it is an issue that has divided opinion with Tigers skipper Aaron Woods speaking out in favour of James but Broncos captain Corey Parker – who was suspended for the first time in his career following a high tackle charge on Tedesco stemming from Origin III – was critical of the leniency.
The habit of the modern fullback to drop quickly to the ground in order to avoid being pushed back into the in-goal has made them vulnerable as attacking teams charge through in numbers.
Titans forward Zeb Taia said putting pressure on the fullback is a key aspect of their game and said that he didn't believe there was any intent from James to collect Tedesco in the manner in which he did.
"As a player he's really aggressive but I don't think there was any malice in that tackle he did against Tedesco," Taia said.
"Obviously when you see it, Tedesco is catching it and falling down; if he didn't break his jaw it might have been a different story.
"There's a lot of pressure on them to catch the ball. That's one thing we pride ourselves on, a lot of pressure when bombs are going up and we love to contest them as well.
"We've had a lot of joy with fullbacks dropping balls against us.
"Obviously Tedesco was falling when he was catching the ball and I think it was just unlucky by him.
"He got caught with a forearm so it's just up to the judiciary.
"Hopefully he gets off and he can play against the Knights."
If found guilty by the judiciary James will miss Saturday's clash in Newcastle against the Knights and also have 50 carry-over points to take forward over the final weeks of the regular season and towards the finals series.
The 25-year-old has been one of the Titans' best all-season and figured prominently in early Dally M Medal voting but Taia is confident the side can cover if he is unable to take his place against the Knights.
"Hopefully he gets off but if we do play without him I think the boys can cover for him," said Taia, who hasn't missed a game this season.
"We've got a lot of depth in the forwards. Vaha [Pulu] had to go back and play Q Cup this week so he might get a shot again."