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As it happened: NRL Judiciary -  Waerea-Hargreaves, Fifita guilty

Live coverage of the NRL judiciary hearings for Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and David Fifita.

David Fifita has been found guilty and will serve a one-match ban which rules him out of Origin III, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was also found guilty and fined. 

Refresh this page for regular updates during the night.

7.41pm: The verdict is in: David Fifita has been found guilty.

With 140 demerit points as his penalty, Fifita is out of Origin III. Francis Molo is set to replace him on Queensland's bench having initially been named as 18th man.

7.34pm: The panel is now deliberating after judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew recapped the arguments.

7.30pm: Representing Fifita, Anthony Laffranchi argues that Williams' skill as a ball-player - engaging the Titans star and changing his "approach speed" with the ball - left the second-rower with limited time to make a decision.

Going over the video, Laffranchi analyses Williams' movement.

"[Williams shows] positive body language, looking to engage defenders, and in this case, he does with player Fifita," he says.

"Fifita is then committed to tackle Mr Williams … This engagement, as a ball-runner, he has done his job, and Mr Fifita has limited time to change his directive.

"Fifita is committed with his right foot planted on the ground and eyes for the target."

He argues that when Williams released the ball, Fifita had "less than one second" and "one stride" to stop.

In continuing with "moderate" contact, Laffranchi says Fifita's aim was to make a "conventional, careful tackle" and opines that Williams did, in fact, brace himself for contact by turning sideways.

Fifita sent to sin bin for late hit on Williams

7.15pm: NRL prosecutor McGrath says it's "quite clear" that Fifita was careless and could have pulled out of tackling Williams once he passed.

He tells the panel that, "in fairness" to Fifita, they should base their decision on a normal-speed replay.

But even so, he says "in rugby league terms, there was ample time for player Fifita to not make contact.

"[Williams] was never a threat to the defensive line. He received the ball well ahead of it and he played the ball, with his pass, well ahead of the defensive line".

McGrath argues there was a heightened risk of unacceptable injury because Williams wasn't braced for contact.

"He's passed the ball, he's entitled to relax in those circumstances," he says.

7pm: Titans star David Fifita's hearing is underway ahead of schedule. The Maroons forward's Origin III hopes are on the line.

He is facing a one-match ban for dangerous contact relating to a late hit on Raiders playmaker Sam Williams on Saturday.

Fifita, appearing from Queensland camp via video link on his own, is wearing a Maroons polo. He is being represented by Gold Coast general manager of football Anthony Laffranchi.

Laffranchi says Fifita won't be giving evidence, so we're heading straight to a submission from NRL prosecutor Peter McGrath.

Roosters prop Jared Wearea-Hargreaves.
Roosters prop Jared Wearea-Hargreaves. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

6.49pm: The verdict is in: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been found guilty.

He has been fined $2550.

6.42pm: The panel is now deliberating after Bellew recapped the arguments. He reminded them that Waerea-Hargreaves having positive intentions is not a defence for escalating the melee.

6.35pm: Now it's Knowles' turn to speak.

He starts out by talking to footage of Kaufusi running "more than 25 metres" at speed to join the melee. In comparison, Knowles says JWH was jogging at first and only rushed into the mix to stop Kaufusi.

While conceding that Waerea-Hargreaves "could have done nothing", Knowles declares that "it's not against the spirit of the game to do what he did ... He wasn't the aggressor, he wasn't the third man in".

Knowles posits that his client "didn't exactly have a lot of options" and he only jumped on Kaufusi when he was on the ground because the Storm player had put Crichton in something like a "headlock".

6.27pm: Making his submission, McGrath argues that regardless of Waerea-Hargreaves' motive, his actions ultimately escalated the scuffle.

He says that by yanking Kaufusi, the Storm player ended up taking Crichton to the ground and that sparked a "second wave involving more players".

6.20: NRL prosecutor Peter McGrath is cross-examining Waerea-Hargreaves. He asks the player why he chose to run into the fray.

"What other option did I have?" Waerea-Hargreaves asks.

It's then put to JWH by judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew that he had two options: to run in or stay out of it.

"What, like the other 10 guys?" Waerea-Hargreaves responds.

He maintains that he was only trying to defuse the situation and was standing up for his teammate.

6.15pm: Waerea-Hargreaves is giving evidence under questioning by his lawyer, Patrick Knowles. The veteran enforcer is no stranger to the judiciary and is handling himself professionally.

He claims he had "no intentions of joining this [melee]" until he felt Melbourne second-rower Felise Kaufusi "surge past me".

JWH says he knew there was "previous history" between Kaufusi and Roosters forward Angus Crichton and so he wanted to "de-escalate the situation".

When he saw Kaufusi heading towards Crichton, "who had his back towards us", Waerea-Hargreaves says he knew "all well he was going to grab that player".

The front-rower admits he caused Kaufusi to lose his feet by yanking his collar but insists his intentions were good.

6.01pm: The hearing for Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is underway. He has pleaded not guilty to grade one contrary conduct for his role in a melee against the Storm.

Waerea-Hargreaves will be fined $2550 if the charge is upheld. He could have accepted a penalty of $1900 (including loading applied for a similar and non-similar offence in the past two years) by taking an early guilty plea.

6pm: The schedule for the hearings is:

6pm – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters)
7.30pm – David Fifita (Titans)

The judiciary panel consists of Tony Puletua, Bob Lindner and Ben Creagh.

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