James’ penalties a worry for Titans coach

He’s avoided an NRL ban this time but Gold Coast forward Ryan James needs to work on being penalised less in the opinion of coach Neil Henry.

The Titans’ forward had a careless tackle charge for his hit on Wests Tigers’ James Tedesco downgraded at the judiciary this week, freeing him to play in Saturday’s clash at Newcastle.

The collision left the NSW State of Origin fullback with a season-ending broken jaw.

James has conceded 24 penalties this season, just two less than the most penalised player in the competition – Cronulla’s Michael Ennis.

Henry admits it’s a worry, especially in a tight race for the finals where any indiscretion could prove season-ending.

“He knows he needs to be more disciplined about what he does,” Henry said on Friday.

“If it’s an offside penalty, that’s discipline about being behind the line. If it’s a hand on ball penalty, again, it’s discipline in the tackle.

“You don’t want to curb any aggression but what you want to do is make sure the leg pulls, the hand on ball, the offside penalties are out of the equation.”

James escaped a ban in a bizarre judiciary hearing on Wednesday when he was unsuccessful in attempting to be found not guilty of the careless tackle but then allowed to contest the grading and avoid a one-match suspension.

Titans’ co-captain Nathan Friend said James would be pleased not only to be playing this weekend but to have avoided any penalty points in this year’s Dally M count.

James was among the frontrunners for the award when voting went behind closed doors and has side-stepped a three-point sanction in avoiding a ban.

“He’s pretty keen on his performances this year and rightly so, he’s done great for us this year,” Friend said.

“Hopefully he’s thereabouts when Dally M tallies come in.”

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