The Sydney Roosters have elected not to contest the Grade Two shoulder charge citation thrown at Sonny Bill Williams.
In taking the early plea, the Roosters superstar will miss the next three games for the club rather than the four had they elected to contest the charge and lost.
He’ll miss games against the Eels, Broncos and the Grand Final replay against the Sea Eagles thanks to the shoulder charge, which came in the 80th minute on the first tackle of the final set of six in the Roosters’ 28-8 loss to the Rabbitohs on Thursday night.
His next game for the Roosters will be against his former club, the Bulldogs, in round five on Friday, April 4 at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters also took the early plea for a charge on Anthony Minichiello, who raised a knee into Lote Tuqiri, but he won’t miss a match.
Mitch Aubusson or Frank-Paul Nu’uasala are expected to be promoted to SBW’s vacant second row spot, with Kane Evans or Remi Casty to get a start off the bench.
On the bright side, SBW gets three week’s rest for several niggling injuries, but the obvious downside is that, you know, he’s not playing.
However, the Roosters won all three games that SBW missed last year albeit against (at the time) inferior opposition in the Sharks (40-0), Panthers (42-6) and Raiders (28-22).
In addition, I have to take you back to 2002. That year, the Roosters were without Brad Fittler for four of the first five matches, and they started out the year with one win and four losses. They ended up — well, you know the rest.