NRL 2019: Canberra Raiders forward Hudson Young cops eight weeks for eye gouge

Canberra forward Hudson Young will turn his focus to getting his NRL career back on track, after copping an eight-game ban for dangerous contact on Adam Pompey's eye.

Young looked a shattered man after Tuesday night's verdict, appearing close to tears, as he waited on the length of ban, after being found guilty.

Throughout his hearing, the 21-year-old maintained that he'd made no contact with Pompey's eye and even had the support of the Warriors wing, who denied feeling a touch.

But those arguments were rejected in a marathon hearing, with the NRL's judiciary kept operating until 11:20pm with three separate cases.

Young's ban was his second of the year, after being outed for five weeks on the same charge earlier this year, and will rule him out of the NRL finals, as well as the start of 2020.

"Although I'm disappointed with their decision, I'll accept my punishment and learn from it," Young said afterwards.

"I'll now focus on returning to training this week and doing everything I can for the team."

Working in Young's favour is the fact he is contracted long term at the Raiders, locked in until the end of 2021.

He also has the backing of coach Ricky Stuart, who insisted the incident was stupidity, but by no means the eye gouge some had made out.

Young claimed his hand had merely slipped onto the face from Pompey's hand, as he tried to deny a try, prompting him to move it away quickly.

That view was backed by Pompey, who said he felt no pressure around his face or eye, when he appeared in the hearing via video link.

But the Warriors rookie's cross ended on a crucial note, when he told NRL counsel Peter McGrath he agreed that what happened on the field should stay on the field.

Judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew later told his three-man panel to consider if Pompey's evidence was "influenced by a sense of loyalty to another professional footballer".

Earlier, McGrath told Young he believed he'd had a grip on Pompey's eye socket, before pulling his hand away.

"You had finger in his eye socket," McGrath said. "It was after that, you pulled that right hand away in a raking motion.

"You had that grip on part of his face before pulling away."


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