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Biting call leaves bad taste for the premiers

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Perfect Storm blitz Bulldogs in NRL decider

Melbourne Storm have defeated minor premiers the Cantebury Bulldogs to win the 2012 NRL premiership.

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ANGRY Storm players demanded to know why Canterbury forward James Graham wasn't sent off in yesterday's grand final over an alleged bite that drew blood from Billy Slater's left ear.

Slater had two small marks near the top of his ear where the bleeding had been coming from when interviewed in the dressing room and Graham is expected to face a suspension of more than eight matches if found guilty of biting.

However, Melbourne players questioned referee Tony Archer about why Graham was only placed on report over the 26th-minute incident and allowed to play a starring role for the Bulldogs in the 14-4 loss.

Fight club ... James Graham appears to bite the ear of Billy Slater during a brawl.

Fight club ... James Graham appears to bite the ear of Billy Slater during a brawl. Photo: Channel 9

Players and officials from both sides were reluctant to comment on the allegations after the match but Storm captain Cameron Smith confirmed he had asked Archer why Graham was not sent off.

''I spoke to the referee about it and Tony explained it to me,'' Smith said. ''We can't control what the referee's decisions are so we just played on.''

Asked what Slater had said on the field, Smith said: ''Bill came to me and said that he felt that he was bitten. That was what he felt.''

Ryan Hoffman scores the first try for the Melbourne Storm. Click for more photos

2012 NRL Grand Final

All the action from the 2012 NRL Grand Final between the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium, Homebush. Photos by Brendan Esposito, Quentin Jones, Dave Tease and Chris Lane. Selected Images available from www.fairfaxsyndication.com. Follow us at http://twitter.com/photosSMH. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Video replays appeared to support Slater's accusation and Archer said blood could be seen coming from Slater's ear. Smith told Archer: ''The last player that bit someone got 18 weeks.''

However, Graham was saved the ignominy of being the first player given his marching orders in a grand final since Canterbury's Phil Sigsworth in 1986.

After being questioned about the decision by Slater and Smith, Archer told them: ''The incident is on report. That is all I can do. I haven't got enough evidence.''

Smith said last night he accepted Archer's explanation, while Slater repeatedly offered ''no comment'' when asked about the incident.

However, when asked on the field if he wanted to make a formal complaint against Graham, Slater said: ''F---ing oath. He bit me.''

Archer then said to fellow referee Ben Cummins: ''You see the incident, you see the blood on the ear, everyone has seen that. That incident is on report.''

Graham did not react as he stood with Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis listening to Archer.

Canterbury coach Des Hasler and Ennis refused to comment on the issue but a Bulldogs insider said teammates were shocked as it is considered out of character for Graham. The Bulldogs believe the Englishman, who has now played in seven successive grand finals in Super League and the NRL, was caught up in the heat of the moment and had a ''brain explosion''.

With former Canterbury forward Brad Morrin suspended for eight matches in 2007 for biting Parramatta's Timana Tahu, the Bulldogs are resigned to Graham receiving a lengthy suspension.Gold Coast fullback William Zillman was the last player suspended for biting when he received a four-match ban in 2009 for biting South Sydney's Jamie Simpson.

Any suspension will include two pre-season matches next year.

The match review committee will also study the entire incident that led to the biting allegation, with Canterbury players unhappy that Slater had slid into Sam Perrett as he crossed for a try.

Bulldogs centre Krisnan Inu took exception to the fullback's actions and the pair became embroiled in some push and shove before David Stagg grabbed Slater in a choker hold. The melee spilled over the sideline as more players became involved, with Jaiman Lowe making a bee line for Inu and Josh Reynolds and Sisa Waqa squaring up.

As he wrestled with Slater, Graham appeared to lunge towards the Test fullback, who immediately reeled away as he grabbed at his left ear.

''I think Perrett got over in the corner and Bill got a bit a shove and blokes came running in from everywhere, but that is out of our hands,'' Smith said. ''It doesn't concern us, we have just won a premiership. The match review committee will look at that and deal with it.''

Asked how his ear was, Slater said: ''It's fine, thanks.''

36 comments

  • A thugs game played by thugs

    Commenter
    QED
    Date and time
    October 01, 2012, 8:24AM
    • A short sentence with no facts - perfect garbage.

      Commenter
      Scott V
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 9:08AM
    • At least the violence stays on the field, unlike soccer. When was the last time you saw a riot in any form of rugby? Or neo-nazi gang followers? Or fans throwing darts at each other?

      Commenter
      franc
      Location
      Kosmopolites
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 11:04AM
    • LOL at the dude associating football with overseas trouble. The list of Nrl indescretions is too long for print. The most trouble came from bulldogs supporters as usual. Nrl attracts the troublemakers. Well done Melbourne and Swannies

      Commenter
      yeahmate
      Location
      nsw
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 12:10PM
  • They don't call it thugby league for nothing. Did anyone actually care about this match? It's a dying game. The Swans v Hawks game the day before was great though.

    Commenter
    Vlax
    Location
    G.
    Date and time
    October 01, 2012, 8:34AM
    • what rubbish?! A 'dying' game. If a billion dollar tv deal is evidence of a dying game, then yes, you're right. And last time I checked, it was called Rugby League. Not sure if you have trouble listening or reading.

      Commenter
      rusta
      Location
      the berra
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 11:00AM
    • It was also a record crowd of about 85,000, if the stadium could hold more it would of, and then rival AFL with their GF numbers.....know what your talking about.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 11:35AM
  • I can only guess that the video referee doesn't have the right to intervene and offer comments, because otherwise I can't understand why James Graham wasn't sent off - and he should have been sent off.

    It's the game's biggest day, watched by millions on TV, no doubt including millions of young boys who have a dream of bing a footy star one day, and an act such as biting cannot be seen to be accepted without consequence on the day.

    I cannot believe that neither referee, having heard the allegation and asking Slater if he wanted to make a complaint, did not ask the video referee for any comment.

    The Storm were by far the better team on the day, and they deserved to win.

    Commenter
    Reginald
    Location
    Redfern
    Date and time
    October 01, 2012, 8:54AM
    • I agree. The referees should have sent off Graham. It was a disgrace!!!!!!!!!

      Commenter
      SPT
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 9:11AM
    • I agree with all this 100%.

      Commenter
      Jones
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 10:16AM

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PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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CRO 16 vs NZW 20 Stats
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GCT 22 vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16 vs SOU 12 Stats
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STG 32 vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs WST 12 Stats
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SOU 14 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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Round 15
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CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
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MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
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SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
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NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
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PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
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Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
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Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
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CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
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PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
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NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
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SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
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SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
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CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
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SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
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