Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron is confident the NRL judiciary won’t be swayed by outside pressure and will judge Cameron Smith’s case on its merits.
Opinion is split over the case with one medical expert claiming Smith’s alleged grapple tackle could have left Brisbane’s Sam Thaiday a paraplegic.
The Melbourne skipper will tomorrow night fight a grade one charge of unnecessary contact with the head or neck and faces a minimum two-game ban which would rule him out of Friday’s preliminary final with Cronulla and possibly next week’s grand final.
“It’s not different to any other case. It’s got to be taken on its merits doesn’t it. That’s the key to this one,” Waldron said.
“I’ve got no doubt all that is written will become totally irrelevant when it gets to the minds of the three or four people making the decision on the night.”
Melbourne have long been criticised for their tackling style but Waldron didn’t think such a history would count against them.
“That would be questioning the integrity of the people making the decision. That would be very silly.
“There’s sensible people charged with making sensible decisions on the outcome so we’ll wait and see.”
The Storm haven’t revealed how they intend to fight the charge, although by accepting an early guilty plea and a week’s suspension for the other player involved in the tackle, Jeremy Smith, they may attempt to shift the blame on to him.
Waldron said he hoped the judiciary would accept the Test hooker’s version of the tackle, that no malice was involved.
“Our defence will probably fall into place tomorrow but we think that the spirit of the game question … Cameron’s contact, right from the start he’s maintained was accidental.
“He certainly releases the tackle, if you look at it in real time. And when he realises it might be an issue and I think that there’s a genuine case that he’s not outside the spirit of the game, he doesn’t go through with anything that causes any damage.”