NRL judiciary has Thaiday stumped

Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday admits he has no idea how James Roberts will fare when he contests his contrary conduct charge, saying the NRL judiciary’s had a “funny year”.

Roberts on Monday pleaded not guilty in a bid to be cleared to play in Friday night’s sudden-death semi-final against North Queensland in Townsville.

The strike centre was charged after kicking Gold Coast forward Ryan Simpkins as the two tangled in the play the ball during the Broncos’ qualifying final win over Gold Coast last week.

Due to a previous offence, Roberts would have missed a game even with an early guilty plea to the grade one charge.

Asked on Monday if Roberts could beat the charge, Thaiday said: “Who knows with the judiciary system?

“It has been a funny year.”

Prominent players, coaches and administrators expressed concern over the system’s perceived inconsistency following Canberra fullback Jack Wighton’s surprise exoneration last week.

Many were left confused over what constitutes a shoulder charge after Wighton successfully fought a grade-two charge and escaped a four week ban.

It was the latest in a string of incidents this season where the match review committee and judiciary appeared to be at loggerheads over penalties and even offences.

Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd had his fingers crossed Roberts could beat the charge.

“You see it all the time, guys want to get a quick play the ball for their team and they react,” Boyd said of the Roberts incident.

“It probably didn’t look the best but it wasn’t malicious – that’s up to the judiciary to decide I guess.”

Centre Tom Opacic is on standby for Roberts.

“Jimmy has been great for us this year, we definitely need him,” Boyd said of Roberts.

“But we have built a good culture at the club and guys like Jonus Pearson and Tom Opacic can come in and do a good job.”

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