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Blues blow: Crichton cops two-match ban, Radley to miss five

Roosters stars Angus Crichton and Victor Radley have both been rubbed out of Origin I at the NRL judiciary, with Radley defiantly defending his tackling style after copping his own five-game suspension.

A crestfallen Crichton was found guilty of his grade 1 dangerous contact for a late shot on Albert Kelly, having unsuccessfully argued that his vision was impaired when he tackled the Broncos half, and he was not aware he had passed the ball.

Carry-over points from three prior incidents in the past two years bumped Crichton's ban up from a potential fine to two-week suspension.

Radley's original grade 2 careless high tackle charge was upheld at the judiciary on Tuesday night after a 70-minute hearing, upping what would have been a three-week ban by an extra game.

The 23-year-old had already accepted a one-week suspension for a separate hit on Kelly, and will now be out of Origin I and II contention.

Radley's hearing was the first by a player since the NRL's strict enforcement of punishment for any high contact with the opposition, but the Roosters hitman vowed not to change his tackling technique in a thinly veiled swipe at the game-wide crackdown.

Radley charged twice, facing 2-5 weeks out

"I'm really confident, I'm really happy with my tackling style," Radley said after his hearing, making clear that his indiscretions "are on me".

"I don't think my tackling style needs adjusting, I've been taught from a very young age by very good coaches a great tackling style.

"Just because they decide to change the rules midway through the season doesn't mean I have to change my tackling style.

"There's obviously situations in the game like on the weekend where I got it wrong. I can't do that. But I don't think it's my tackling style."

NRL counsel Peter McGrath successfully argued that Radley made "direct contract with the side of [Pangai's] head, elevated both feet after impact with force that is at least moderate with moderate risk of injury to the head or neck".

Radley "launches himself in an upward trajectory", McGrath argued in his assessment of the tackle, with Radley's defence lawyer James McLeod unsuccessfully contending that his contact was "fleeting and incidental" on Pangai.

Throughout two weeks of discussion and debate around concussions, high tackles and contact with the head, arguments have been made for low tackles to be encouraged and rewarded.

Renowned as one of the NRL's best and hardest hitters, Radley dismissed the notion outright.

"Tackling low isn't the answer," he said.

"I can't be premeditating tackling low and getting myself knocked out, copping elbows and hips. I know I can't hit the head, but tackling low isn't the answer."

Just because they decide to change the rules midway through the season doesn't mean I have to change my tackling style.

Victor Radley

Crichton meanwhile conceded his hit on Kelly was "quite late… but it was only because I thought he still had the ball in his hands."

McLeod argued the contact was an "innocuous check" that "did not involve an unacceptable risk of injury", with Crichton's bowed head in tackling Kelly meaning he did not see the playmaker's pass.

McGrath however successfully contended that had Crichton "played with the awareness he ought to have had", he would not have hit Kelly at all, and that he made "no attempt to make contact until he has passed the ball."

Crichton was considered a walk-up starter to replace club teammate and NSW captain Boyd Cordner on the Blues left edge, with his absence now bringing the likes of Liam Martin, Ryan Matterson and Pangai into contention for an Origin debut alongside NSW regulars Cameron Murray and Tyson Frizell.

Crichton cited for tackle on Kelly

"It's a tough one to take," Crichton said afterwards.

"It was a genuine mistake. My vision was impaired and I didn't know Albert Kelly had the ball. It's upsetting I'll miss games for that.

"In the end I'm the one who has to be accountable for my actions, it's disappointing to miss games and let my teammates down."

Radley too had been considered a strong NSW selection chance before his madcap performance against Brisbane which saw him sin-binned twice and put on report four times in the 34-16 loss.

An extended five game suspension will rule Radley out of Origin II contention as well, with his ban covering Roosters' game against the Raiders, Titans, Panthers, Storm and Bulldogs.

The Roosters can apply for an Origin appearance to count towards Radley's suspension to have him back on deck earlier, though the club would need to prove he would have been picked for the Blues for that to be successful.

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