Roberts kick not worthy of ban: Bennett

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Roberts kick not worthy of ban: Bennett

He’s ready to move on but Wayne Bennett still reckons Brisbane centre James Roberts should be playing in Friday night’s NRL semi-final.

Roberts was suspended by the judiciary for Friday night’s sudden-death clash against North Queensland in Townsville after kicking out at Gold Coast’s Ryan Simpkins last week.

The 23-year-old was found guilty on Wednesday night of a contrary conduct charge – not a kicking charge, as the match review committee had deemed the action was not of sufficient force.

Bennett believes it sets an unfairly low threshold for what can be considered contrary to the spirit of the game.

“I think we got a fair hearing, that’s all you can ask for. We move on,” he said.

“I believe he should be playing… it didn’t look great, but the bottom line is if that’s bringing the game into disrepute, there’s lots of things we do out there that are much worse than that but we don’t get charged for it.”

Bennett bemoaned the NRL judiciary’s inconsistency, saying there had been instances when players have been spared from suspension by successfully arguing they had made only “minimal” contact, like in the case of Roberts.

“I think we’ve all seen this year how tragic it’s been at different stages… and I use that word not lightly,” he said.

“We had an incident in about round seven, one of our players got an elbow to his head, they deemed that minimal contact, that’s why the player didn’t get charged.

“That (excuse) has been used two or three times this year.”

Roberts has been replaced in the Broncos team by Tom Opacic at left centre, with Jordan Kahu to move to right centre and rookie Jonus Pearson, originally named 18th man, on the wing.

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