Live updates from Tuesday night's judiciary hearings for Latrell Mitchell, Victor Radley and Paul Momirovski. All the verdicts are in.
Press refresh for regular updates during the night.
11.05pm: Mitchell did not speak to the media after the decision but Rabbitohs football manager Mark Ellison gave a statement and answered a few questions.
"On behalf of the club and Latrell, we'd just say we're obviously disappointed with the result tonight," Ellison says.
"We came in here hoping for a grade-down but didn't get it. That's the way it goes. He was obviously disappointed. It was a fair hearing.
"I don't think he is [a dirty player], no. I think he was caught by circumstances in this incident and bad luck for him in the outcome.
"The big thing about it is he's the Dally M leader at the moment and the crowds aren't going to see him for four matches, which is sad for the game but unfortunate for him.
"Anyway, we'll move on."
10.52pm: Verdict. Latrell Mitchell has failed in his bid to have his charge downgraded and will miss four games as well as having 20 carryover points.
10.40pm: And now we wait as the panel deliberates for the final time tonight.
Mitchell placed on report for contact on Nofoaluma
10.30pm: Mitchell’s lawyer Nick Ghabar wraps up his submission and judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew is now instructing the panel.
10.20pm: Ghabar urges the panel to consider the “unusual circumstances” in which the offence occurred.
While Friend “had time” and no immediate need to make the tackle on Clune in the comparable example, Ghabar says Mitchell was forced into a split-second decision because of “the imminent possibility of a try being scored”.
He argues that Mitchell, in fact, attempted to look out for Nofoaluma by turning his body and trying to pull out of contact.
Otherwise, Ghabar continues, the fullback’s shoulder would have made contact “probably with the sternum” of his opponent.
The defence claims that self-preservation was another factor while Mitchell only had eyes for the ball.
Ghabar says that “short of player Mitchell having eyes in the back of his head” he couldn’t have known where Nofoaluma was when contact to the head was made.
He adds that Nofoaluma was off-balance and changed his body height when kicking the ball; contributing factors to the way the incident played out.
Going frame-by-frame through the video, Ghabar contends that it was not Mitchell’s elbow that contacted Nofoaluma. Instead, he claims it was the lower part of the forearm or wrist that caused a “glancing" blow.
“Contrary to the referee’s report, we have no evidence of any injury,” Ghabar says, adding that Nofoaluma’s mouth could have been bloodied before the incident.
10.05pm: As in Paul Momirovski’s earlier hearing, former Roosters hooker Jake Friend’s grade one dangerous contact charge (head/neck) for a tackle on Dragons halfback Adam Clune last year is being used as a comparable example.
But McGrath says it won’t be “comparing apples to apples” because Friend tried to make a normal tackle whereas Mitchell didn't.
9.58pm: NRL counsel Peter McGrath submits that Nofoaluma escaped with a bloodied mouth after the tackle but the risk of greater injury was significant.
He says the fact that Mitchell jumped and turned his back shows he didn’t intend to hurt Nofoaluma but was “extremely careless” in doing so.
“[Mitchell] jumps at the same time he turns his back and twists, “ McGrath says. “He pushes or throws his left arm out in the direction of Nofoaluma as he has just kicked the ball.
Radley placed on report and sent to sin bin for high shot on Munster
“In doing so, there’s no appreciable level of drop in player Nofoaluma’s head so player Mitchell is extremely careless."
Mitchell looks down and slightly shakes his head for a moment as he listens to McGrath’s submission. The NRL prosecutor goes on to reiterate that Mitchell made direct contact with Nofoaluma’s face.
9.45pm: Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell, represented by Nick Ghabar, has sat down before the panel as he attempts to have a grade two dangerous contact - head/neck charge downgraded.
He is risking a four-match ban but will have his stint on the sidelines trimmed to one game if he is successful.
The incident in question was a hit on Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma as he kicked to set up a try in Saturday’s clash.
The outcome of the hearing will have an impact on Mitchell’s chances of claiming the Dally M Medal. He currently leads the count on 13 votes, ahead of Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen (12), but each week of suspension results in three votes being docked.
A ban of two games or more, or two suspensions in one season, make a player ineligible for the award.
9.28pm: Verdict. Radley has been successful in getting the careless high tackle charge downgraded to a grade one. A $1900 fine is his penalty.
Radley flashed a big grin and gave a thumbs-up on his way out of Rugby League Central but declined to speak to the media.
8.50pm: Chairman Bellew gives his instructions, recaps the submissions from both lawyers and the panel is now deliberating.
8.40pm: Watching the video of Rapana’s grade one careless high tackle from last year, Radley’s counsel James McLeod argues the Raider “has done more wrong” than Radley and is “at least the same level of blameworthiness”. He says Rapana struck Daniel Alvaro with greater force and his “execution was poorer”.
McLeod believes it’s “telling” that opposing counsel McGrath has opted to show examples of grade one offences instead of grade two.
He submits there are no characteristics of a grade two offence in Radley’s tackle, saying it lacked the necessary force, flush contact and culpability.
On the Latrell Mitchell example, McLeod says the Souths star was in a better position to effect a tackle than Radley and he then elevated himself off the ground - unlike Radley - to hit Garner.
8.25pm: McLeod is now giving his submission. He accepts Radley was “clumsy” and it “wasn’t a good tackle” but argues there was only low force.
“It’s not a forearm, it’s not a stiff-arm, it’s not a clenched fist as my friend suggested - it’s a grabbing action,” McLeod says.
He posits that the photo referenced earlier by McGrath was not taken at the point of first impact and says there was merely “incidental glancing contact” rather than a “flush” blow.
“[Radley’s] wrongdoing is limited to someone who got out of position threw out an arm, tried to grab the ball-carrier and got it slightly wrong,” he says.
8.20pm: Two grade-one careless high tackles from last year - one by Raiders winger Jordan Rapana and the other by Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell - are being used as comparable examples to Radley’s offence.
NRL counsel Peter McGrath says that Rapana’s tackle on Eels prop Daniel Alvaro wasn’t as bad as Radley’s because of the degree of force and the initial point of contact was with the shoulder.
“It was certainly high but hasn’t come with the distance or the acceleration [like Radley],” McGrath says. Mitchell’s tackle on Wests Tigers forward Luke Garner, meanwhile, had also an initial impact with the shoulder in McGrath’s view.
8pm: McGrath submits that it was “plain to see that player Radley was wrong-footed” by Munster and then carelessly “threw out” his left arm into the Storm star’s head.
The fact that Radley’s feet left the ground after impact was evidence of his “lack of control in those circumstances”, according to McGrath.
Munster was interchanged and returned to the field within a minute, so McGrath says there is “no suggestion of any injury actually being caused”, but he contends there was a significant risk.
He points to a photo that shows Radley contacting Munster’s head with “what appears to be a clenched fist”, though he does not suggest it was a swinging arm.
Momirovski looking at suspension for high shot on Dearden
The speed with which the Tricolours forward came off the defensive line contributed the majority of the force to the tackle, he adds.
7.40: Roosters lock Victor Radley, represented by James McLeod and with Mitch Aubusson there in support, has sat down for his hearing. He is seeking a downgrade of a grade-two careless high tackle on Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster in last Friday’s clash.
Radley was sin-binned for the act. He has been named to face St George Illawarra on Anzac Day but is risking a three-match ban with prior offences taken into account.
7.28pm: Verdict. The grade two offence has been upheld with Momirovski receiving a penalty of 300 points (three matches).
7.20pm: Panel began deliberating at 7.05. No verdict yet.
7pm: Momirovski’s lawyer Nick Ghabar argues that Friend’s tackle was “far later” and “far more careless” despite being a grade one offence. He says Friend had plenty of time to pull out compared to Momirovski and there was a greater chance of injury.
“Player Momirovski’s tackle must therefore be graded a grade-one tackle,” he concludes.
Judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew is now giving his instructions to the panel.
6.50pm: Ghabar contends his client was far from careless during the tackle. He submits there was “deflected contact from Dearden having his arm up to protect himself” that resulted in the Panthers centre striking his opponent’s head.
“Unlike player Friend, who always has his arm above the ball and virtually in line with player Clune’s head,” Ghabar says. Momirovski was aiming to make a wrapping tackle and contact “wouldn’t have ended up as high without deflection".
Ghabar describes the incident as “cradling-like contact” that lacked “blunt force” and adds that Momirovski showed a level of care to help cushion Dearden’s fall and prevent his head from hitting the ground.
6.35pm: For comparison, footage is being played of a similar incident last year that resulted in retired Roosters hooker Jake Friend being charged with - and pleading guilty to - grade one dangerous contact to head/neck of Dragons halfback Adam Clune.
NRL counsel McGrath suggests that one of the key differences between the cases is that Friend never left his feet to launch himself into the tackle. He says the degree of carelessness in Friend’s situation was much less as his arm was always horizontal instead of swinging upwards like Momirovski's.
In summary, McGrath says Friend was “certainly less careless” and thus Momirovski deserves a grade two.
6.20pm: McGrath, arguing the grading should stand, says the force in the tackle by Momirovski was “moderate” as he travelled “at speed” to pressure Broncos halfback Tom Dearden, who was kicking.
While conceding the initial chest and shoulder contact was OK, McGrath describes Momirovski’s conduct as very careless because he swung his left arm in an arc and struck Dearden’s face.
He says the Penrith centre “launched himself into the tackle” by leaving his feet and the result was an unacceptable but moderate risk of injury.
6.10pm: First hearing underway. Panthers centre Momirovski is appearing via video link with his representative Nick Ghabar at the judiciary in person.
Momirovski is challenging the grading of a grade two dangerous contact charge stemming from a high tackle on Brisbane half Dearden.
He’ll be free to face the Knights on Thursday night if successful but is risking a three-game ban.
Panelist Bob Lindner is also appearing by video link.
6pm: The schedule for the hearings is:
- 6pm - Paul Momirovski (Panthers)
- 7.30pm - Victor Radley (Roosters)
- 9pm - Latrell Mitchell (Rabbitohs)
The judiciary panel consists of Ben Creagh, Dallas Johnson and Bob Lindner.