Brad Walter and Glenn Jackson | September 23, 2008 JUDICIARY panel members will be told tomorrow night that the Cam Smith hearing is a test case in the battle to eradicate grapple tackles and other illegal wrestling manoeuvres from the game. After studying four new camera angles of the tackle by the Australian captain and teammate Jeremy Smith on Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday last Saturday night, the match review committee decided to charge him with grade-one contrary conduct - unnecessary head/neck contact. The grapple tackle charge means the Melbourne hooker, who skippered Queensland to victory in this season's Origin series and had the honour of captaining Australia in May's Centenary Test triumph over New Zealand, will miss Friday night's preliminary final against Cronulla and the following weekend's grand final unless he convinces the three-man tribunal panel of former players of his innocence. Jeremy Smith was also charged with grade-one contrary conduct - unnecessary pressure to arm/shoulder - for an alleged "chicken wing" tackle on Thaiday at the same time. The vision of the incident is likely to be the only evidence submitted in the case against the Smiths as it is considered damning enough to ensure a guilty finding. After five years of dealing with grapple tackles and similar holds from the game, officials consider the suspension of one of the game's leading players from the biggest match of the season to be a watershed moment for the NRL. Almost everyone says they want the growing influence wrestling has on the game significantly curbed, although few were yesterday prepared to publicly discuss the Smith case. However, privately the overwhelming view among players, coaches and officials was that tomorrow night's hearing represented the best chance yet to do something about it. Conversely, the Herald was told that if Smith gets off it will be a free-for-all from now on. "It's so brazen that I don't think there was any choice but to charge him," one official said. "No one wants to see players suspended at this time of the year but they've crossed the line. This is going to be a bit of a test case, I think." Cam Smith is considered one of the best wrestlers in the game, and his tackles are regularly scrutinised by the match review committee. Among the 10 grapple-like incidents looked at yesterday, Smith featured in two. Despite the Storm's reputation, they featured in only one other similar incident that came under review - a Greg Inglis tackle on Tonie Carroll that was penalised in the first half. Smith pleaded guilty to a grade-one contrary conduct charge for a round-one grapple tackle on Warriors centre Brent Tate but the incident involving Thaiday was the first time he had been penalised this season specifically for the offence. He has, however, been penalised four times for holding down or making a second effort in a tackle. "He's the best in the business, everyone knows that," a member of a rival club's coaching staff told the Herald. "He's so good at it that I think they usually find them too hard to detect." A rival player, who has been the victim of a grapple tackle, said: "Everyone has been going on about this for years now but they've never really pinned anyone for it so it will be interesting to see what happens at the judiciary." Not everyone agrees that Smith is guilty, with former Balmain and Australia hooker Ben Elias labelling the decision to charge him as "a joke". "Fair dinkum, if you psycho-analyse every tackle like that, no one would be playing the game," Elias said. "We're losing enough great players. All our superstars are going overseas and playing overseas. "He's one of the greatest. He's the Australian captain. Not that that means he can get away with knocking someone's head off - but they're playing a game of rugby league. I don't think it was an intentional grapple tackle. It was a penalty. Justice would have been done - give the penalty and move on. "Where's it going to end? There's the chicken wing, or the turkey leg, or whatever it is. We want to see the superstars play. I don't think anyone would object if he got off."