NSW are facing a crisis at hooker for State of Origin III with Michael Ennis hit with a grade-one careless high-tackle charge for his shot on North Queensland prop Matt Scott.
Ennis was widely tipped to be the back-up to Robbie Farah who is undergoing scans to the fractured hand he suffered in the Wests Tigers’ NRL loss on Sunday to Penrith.
Ennis can’t escape a ban with an early guilty plea (67 points) because his 38 carry-over points mean if he pleads guilty, he gets one week.
Fighting the charge and losing would also end up with him missing one week of action.
The discussion around Farah’s availability centres around where the fracture of his hand is and if he can actually play through the injury.
“(Farah) came off when he did when he got to the point when he just couldn’t go any further but he said he was pretty much a passenger for most of the second half so that was disappointing for us,” Tigers coach Jason Taylor said on Sunday.
Asked whether he was in doubt for the deciding Origin clash in Brisbane on July 8, Taylor said: “I’m not sure. It depends where that fracture is.
“He left straight away. He’s obviously very keen to know the outcome. He didn’t have a shower, he just wanted to get down there and get the x-ray.”
Joining Ennis as those who face a week on the sidelines is 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 unless he fights the charge.
Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks has been slapped with a contrary conduct charge by the NRL match review committee following his headbutt of Penrith prop Jeremy Latimore on Sunday.
The rising star has copped a grade one charge but will be free to take on Parramatta next Monday should he take the early guilty plea.
Warriors prop Charlie Gubb (dangerous contact – head/neck), Sharks prop Matt Prior (dangerous contact – head/neck) and Tigers centre Delouise Hoeter (dangerous contact – other) were the other players charged but will be available for the next game if they take the early guilty plea.