A bitterly disappointed Anthony Watmough says he’ll cop his four-game ban on the chin after failing to win a downgrade of his dangerous lifting charge at the NRL judiciary on Thursday.
The Manly and NSW back-rower will miss the final State of Origin clash in Brisbane on July 9 and the Sea Eagles’ encounters against Cronulla this Saturday in addition to meetings with the Sydney Roosters, Canterbury and the Wests Tigers.
The three-man panel of Don McKinnon, Paul Whatuira and Bob Lindner took less than 10 minutes to uphold the grading after Watmough was put on report for lifting Queensland prop Nate Myles into a dangerous position in Wednesday’s Origin II clash at ANZ Stadium.
“We thought we had a fair crack but it wasn’t to be,” Watmough said.
“It’s disappointing not just to miss games for Manly but also the Origin game.
“It was great to make a bit of history with the boys and it would have been good to go up there and win 3-0.
“We got a good hearing. I didn’t go into the tackle with any intent. I would never do that.
“It was one of those incidents that looked ugly and I’ll take it and move on.”
Watmough’s counsel Nick Ghabar argued that the incident, which also initially involved James Tamou merited a downgrade because Myles only fell to the ground after the prop released him while the back-rower held him around the legs.
He used an example of Penrith’s Adam Docker, who was hit with a grade-one charge for a lifting tackle on Canterbury’s James Graham after the ball had been played in round three this year.
However, Peter Kite for the NRL claimed successfully that Watmough had driven Myles towards the ground and, although he landed on his arm first, was unable to prevent himself from putting pressure on his neck and head as he fell.
Watmough will return to action for Manly against St George Illawarra in round 19.