Waerea-Hargreaves free to face Rabbitohs; Evans suspended

A "relieved" Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will line up opposite Liam Knight after overturning a one-match ban for the high shot that left the Souths' prop bloodied and concussed, which his defence described as nothing more than a "rugby league accident".

Waerea-Hargreaves took his grade 1 high tackle charge to the NRL judiciary and won on Tuesday night, arguing that contact made by Knight to his own chin had played a role in the high tackle.

Parramatta's Kane Evans though will still sit out Sunday's final against Brisbane after a marathon night at League Central, having had his one-game suspension for a high tackle on Manly's Brad Parker upheld.

The three-man panel of Mal Cochrane, Tony Puletua and Dallas Johnson took 15 minutes to clear Waerea-Hargreaves after a 50-minute hearing, leaving him free to turn out in the first Roosters-Rabbitohs finals clash at the SCG since 1938.

Knight has been named at prop as well but will still have to complete relevant concussion protocols to lock horns once more with the Kiwi enforcer.

An ugly cut from the incident resulted from Knight's head bouncing off Waerea-Hargreaves' arm into the head of Roosters' defender Lindsay Collins, with Knight taken from the field on a medicab afterwards.

Pointing to slowed down footage of the incident and at one point standing up to demonstrate the tackle, Waerea-Hargreaves said the left hand of Knight that hit his chin caused him to turn his head and change his tackle at the last moment.

"I was hoping Liam Knight was going to fall into my chest," Waerea-Hargreaves said, explaining his defensive technique as a 'catching' tackle.

"But as soon as I flinched (as a result of Knight's contact to his face), it opened me up to where he fell on my bicep.

"It was a swinging arm (to Waerea-Hargreaves' face). I think if anyone is dealt with the same situation they’re going to flinch. He clipped me across the chin."

NRL counsel Peter McGrath responded by contending Waerea-Hargreaves was bracing for heavy contact regardless of the contact Knight made, to which the Roosters prop replied "not at all".

Waerea-Hargreaves' own defence James McLeod described his client's contact on Knight as "unavoidable" and a "rugby league accident".

"What more could he have reasonably done in the circumstances?" McLeod asked the panel, having argued that he also softened his arm at the point of impact.

Speaking after the hearing Waerea-Hargreaves thanked McLeod for "carrying us" and gave his counsel a hug on the way out of NRL HQ.

Evans meanwhile was found to have "launched himself" at Parker in Parramatta's win over Manly last Friday, the Sea Eagles centre knocked out by the heavy shot and taken from the field by medicab.

"It’s a high level of force," McGrath argued in prosecuting Evans, who did not risk any extra time on the sidelines by challenging the severity of his grade 2 charge.

"He went for the high risk marginal tackle when there were other options."

Bench prop Daniel Alvaro is expected to start in Evans’ place against the Broncos with Tepai Moeroa a likely call-up from Parramatta’s extended reserves list.