Sydney Roosters star James Tedesco admits the club needs veteran prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves if they are to defend their NRL premiership.
Waerea-Hargreaves will find out if he can play in the club's preliminary final in two weeks, when he contests a tripping charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.
The 30-year-old is in trouble for sticking his leg out on South Sydney centre James Roberts in the 71st minute of their qualifying final match.
It is the second time in as many weeks the Roosters prop will have challenged a charge after being exonerated for a careless high tackle.
It is understood the reigning premiers have again hired lawyer James McLeod, who successfully defended the New Zealand international last week.
It will be the third time McLeod has represented Waerea-Hargreaves this year, having also helped him defeat a dangerous contact charge in round 17.
And the Roosters, who await the winner of the semi-final between Melbourne and Parramatta, will be hoping for the same verdict for their key forward.
"We'll definitely need him," Tedesco said on Monday.
"Again last week he was pretty inspirational for us. He's been great for us all year. He's the leader of our pack and we definitely need him."
A grade-one tripping charge normally attracts a fine, however Waerea-Hargreaves has already attracted the maximum amount of financial penalties this year.
In fact, this is the sixth time the match review committee has charged the New Zealand international this year for a total three weeks suspension.
"He's done pretty well the last few times he's been at judiciary," Tedesco said.
"I haven't really seen or watched the incident. I don't think many people would've saw it in the game. But he's pretty experienced at the judiciary.
"So hopefully he can get off."
Newly-retired Cronulla captain Paul Gallen described Waerea-Hargreaves' opening stint against the Rabbitohs as the best from a prop this year.
"That first stint he had was the best first stint from a front-rower that I've seen this season, so it's going to hurt if he's not there," Gallen said.
"Obviously other players are just going to have to stand up for them, but that first stint he had the other night, man, that was as powerful as I've seen.
"That was unbelievable."
WAEREA-HARGREAVES' 2019 RAP SHEET
* Round 9, grade-one dangerous contact (crusher) - early guilty plea (zero weeks)
* Round 11, grade-one dangerous contact (late) - guilty at panel (two weeks)
* Round 17, grade-one dangerous contact (elbow) - exonerated
* Round 19, grade-one dangerous contact (late) - early guilty plea (one week)
* Round 25, grade-one careless high tackle - exonerated
* Finals week one, grade-one tripping - TBC
Australian Associated Press