Brisbane Broncos centre James Roberts.

Bennett reacts to Roberts suspension

Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says he is disappointed in the NRL judiciary's decision to find centre James Roberts guilty of contrary conduct on Wednesday night. 

Roberts was initially charged after appearing to kick the back of Gold Coast Titans forward Ryan Simpkins during Brisbane's 44-28 elimination final win at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. 

The 23-year-old will now miss one match, and it may be the Broncos' last for the season as they travel to Townsville to play the North Queensland Cowboys in a do or die semi-final clash. 

Bennett told media on Thursday that although he believes Roberts received a fair trial, he argued the force of the kick wasn't enough to warrant a suspension. 

"We got a fair hearing and that's all you can ask for so we'll move on," Bennett said. 

"I believe he should be playing this week. 

"The incident in itself didn't look great, but the bottom line is that there are lots of things that players do on the field that are a lot worse than that and don't result in a charge. 

"We had an incident earlier in the year where one of our players got an elbow to their head and they deemed that minimal contact. 

"That's why the player who threw his elbow didn't get charged and that defence has been used two or three times this year."

 

The decision means centre Tom Opacic will take his place in the team, with New Zealand international Jordan Kahu to move to right centre and two-game rookie Jonus Pearson to come onto the right wing. 

Friday's match will be the seventh time Brisbane and North Queensland have met in the past two seasons, with each side having won three matches each. 

The last match-up ended in a one-point victory to the Cowboys, with an injured Johnathan Thurston kicking the match-winning field goal. 

Bennett said while North Queensland were beatable this time round, the key to success would be shutting down their predictable nature of play. 

"The Cowboys are at that stage where they are predictable. All the good teams are predictable," Bennett said.  

"The Rabbitohs were the same when they won the premiership in 2013. The good teams always have predictability about them. 

"You don't have to watch the game to see how the Melbourne Storm are going to play because you just know what they are going to do. 

"The Cowboys are in the same category as that. That's the key to successful teams. 

"You need to be able to perfect what you're doing over and over again. Everybody knows what you're doing but they can't stop it. That's the challenge." 

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