NSW coach Laurie Daley has no problems bringing a suspended Michael Ennis into camp and exploiting a judiciary loophole to allow him to prepare for the State of Origin decider.
Ennis will face the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night, a week before Origin III, to fight his grade-one careless high-tackle charge after he was cited for his hit on Matt Scott in Saturday’s come-from-behind win over North Queensland.
With 38 carry-over points from a contrary conduct charge in round two, the Sharks rake would have been suspended for one week had he taken the early guilty plea, but the club said on Tuesday it would challenge the ban.
Whether or not he is successful, Ennis could simply miss Cronulla’s clash against Manly on Saturday night and be available for the Blues next Wednesday after not being officially selected by NSW on Tuesday.
Daley said he would have no hesitation bringing the former Blues rake into camp even if he copped the one-game suspension.
“We could bring him in (on Tuesday) if we wanted to,” Daley said.
“We’ve done it with Greg Bird. Birdy’s been training with us for the past two camps.
“If you wanted to, you could bring them in. But for us, where we’re at the moment, that’s the option we’d take.”
An NRL spokesman said no comment would be made about Ennis while his case is before the match review committee.
However the rules state that any player’s suspension ends following the final game of the premiership round which coincides with the final match of their ban.
Joining Ennis in contesting his charge will be St George Illawarra forward Will Matthews.
The Dragons back-rower was hit with a grade-one dangerous throw on Eels forward Anthony Watmough in the second half of Saturday’s clash and will miss this weekend’s match against North Queensland if found guilty.
But Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks will be free to take on Parramatta next Monday after submitting an early guilty plea for a grade-one contrary conduct charge following his headbutt of Penrith prop Jeremy Latimore on Sunday.
Warriors prop Charlie Gubb (dangerous contact – head/neck), Sharks prop Matt Prior (dangerous contact – head/neck) and Tigers centre Delouise Hoeter (dangerous contact – other) will all be available for the next game after submitting an early guilty plea.