Sydney Roosters coach Ricky Stuart questioned the grading of a striking charge laid on Luke Ricketson today as the club prepared to take on the NRL judiciary.
Ricketson was slapped with a grade three offence by the NRL match review committee after lashing out at North Queensland halfback Nathan Fien in the third minute of yesterday's preliminary final at Telstra Stadium.
He could face a three-week ban if found guilty, a suspension which would rule him out of Sunday's premiership decider against the Bulldogs.
Asked if he thought the charge was severe, Stuart said: "I thought the grading was".
"That's what we want to challenge, the grading of a three ... there's a discrepancy.
"The same thing happened two weeks ago in a fight on the field. Another player (Bulldogs' Willie Mason) punched another bloke (North Queensland's David Myles) in the head and nothing happened."
The Roosters would need to successfully argue for the charge to be downgraded to a grade one if Ricketson is to take his place in the decider.
If they fail on Wednesday night, Ricketson would be the seventh player to miss a grand final through suspension.
He would be the first since 1998 when Brisbane's Peter Ryan coincidentally sat out the Broncos' win over the side the Roosters will face on Sunday - the Bulldogs.
"He's an international player, he's played State of Origin, in grand finals," Sydney captain Brad Fittler said today.
"He's played in times of injury. He's a tough bloke, a bloke you want to go to war with.
"It will be a big loss if we don't have him there."
Stuart admitted to having an "empty feeling" when he received the news.
"You get an empty feeling because you know how much it means to the guys," Stuart said.
"It's a very important game and you don't want your best players missing."