Carroll to miss three matches

Brisbane Broncos forward Tonie Carroll was last night ynsuccessful in securing a spot in the deciding State of Origin match on Wednesday by the NRL judiciary.

Carroll was found guilty of striking Canberra halfback Mark McLinden in the head or neck region during last Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Raiders at Suncorp Stadium.

He was banned despite the best efforts of former NRL judiciary chairman Jim Hall, who made a comeback last night.

Hall, who was sacked by the NRL, had been called in to defend Carroll.

Earlier in the week, Carroll pleaded to guilty to a second striking charge on McLinden and accepted a one-match ban.

Last night, Carroll unsuccessfully tried to fight a further two-match ban.

Had the Broncos forward been successful he would have been eligible to play in Wednesday's Origin decider in Sydney.

The Queensland Rugby League had tried to bend the rules to get Carroll into the decider.

They had left him out of the Maroons team named on Monday, ensuring that if he was suspended he would serve the ban in this weekend's club game for Brisbane.

They were then ready to drop injured centre Paul Bowman from the squad. But when Carroll was hit with two striking charges and facing a total of three weeks on the sidelines the plans went awry.

Their only hope was having him cleared last night.

It was a situation similar to the TBA (to be announced) fiasco involving Lote Tuqiri three years ago.

NRL counsel Peter Kite claimed Carroll's contact was with the head or neck region of McLinden "while not in possession of the ball".

Carroll, however, told the judiciary panel of Royce Ayliffe, Mark Coyne and Mal Cochrane that he made initial contact with McLinden's chest.

"I was at marker and the ball was passed to McLinden," Carroll said.

"I saw him going for a drop goal and tried to get in the way and charge it down."

Asked by Hall if he made contact with McLinden's head, Carroll said: "No, not at all."

Then, asked if he initially hit McLinden's neck, Carroll replied: "No."

Carroll claimed he could not prevent making contact with McLinden as he was in the air as the Canberra player attempted the field goal.

There was controversy during the hearing when Kite tried to enter evidence about a previous tackle by Carroll on McLinden.

Last night's verdict means Carroll's Broncos teammate Corey Parker can concentrate all his energies on getting ready for the Origin decider.

Parker was named on the Queensland bench on Tuesday after Paul Bowman withdrew with a shoulder complaint that has bothered him throughout the series.

But if Carroll had been found not guilty last night he would have been added to the Queensland squad after his one-match ban expired on Sunday when the Broncos play South Sydney.

In that scenario Parker was the player likely to miss out, given his inexperience at Origin level.

Early yesterday afternoon at the Queensland team medical, Parker said he had mixed feelings.

"I hope TC gets off so he can play Origin, but at the same time I desperately want to play myself," Parker said.

QRL managing director Ross Livermore said he had no issue with the NRL judiciary's finding.

"It was a Broncos matter and had nothing to do with us," Livermore said.