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27 hours ago
Brisbane plan to use Roosters five-eighth Braith Anasta as their star witness in a bid to clear representative fullback Karmichael Hunt of a careless high tackle charge.
Hunt, facing a week's suspension for the grade three charge, was one of four players picked up by the NRL's match review committee on Monday following a wild weekend of matches in which two players were sent off.
"Shocked is probably too strong a word, but we're very surprised Karmichael has been charged," Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen told AAP.
"We'll be defending him vigorously, we think he's totally innocent.
"We can't see how he can be charged for another player's actions."
Brisbane maintain Anasta, whose nose was badly broken in the 18th minute, contributed largely by falling awkwardly into Hunt's tackle.
They'll have a meeting on Tuesday morning with Hunt and coach Wayne Bennett to formulate a defence to take to Wednesday's judiciary hearing with Anasta certain to be a key piece of their evidence.
"Karmichael never set himself for a shoulder charge but he had to brace himself for the impact when Anasta fell into him," said Cullen.
"The players may be responsible for their actions but they can't avoid accidents.
"In this case the accident was caused by the other person (Anasta) and we can't see why there's a problem.
"We'll defend it vigorously, we're firmly of the opinion it was an accident.
"If Anasta doesn't slip or fall or stumble, nothing happens.
"Karmichael's arm remained by his side, his elbow doesn't come out or is cocked."
Bulldogs forward Andrew Ryan beat a similar charge at the judiciary last year with the help of an expert in body movements.
Asked if Brisbane would call on a biomechanics expert to use similar evidence showing Anasta falling, Cullen said: "we'll do whatever we have to do".
"The other camp didn't blow up and Anasta didn't say anything, in fact he's come out a number of times and said he'd help with Hunt's defence.
"(Roosters officials) Ricky Stuart and Brian Canavan have said the same thing.
"There's no complains from the Roosters camp at all because they know it was an accident."
Cowboys centre Ashley Graham's careless tackle which knocked Wests Tigers fullback Brett Hodgson out was graded one higher than Hunt's.
He could have more trouble escaping the charge given the time he had to avoid contact and the fact he appeared to lift his forearm.
Cowboys officials could not be contacted but it's likely they will at least try and have the charge against Graham downgraded.