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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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MAN vs CBY 20:05BO
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CBR vs PEN 15:00GIO
WST vs NZW 17:30CSS
NQL vs CRO 19:301300
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SYD vs SOU 16:00AS
GCT vs NEW 18:30Cbus
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CBR vs SYD 15:00GIO
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:30Pirtek
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NEW vs PAR 19:00HS
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NQL vs NEW 17:301300
MEL vs PEN 19:30AAMI
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SYD vs WST 16:00AS
SOU vs GCT 18:30nib Stadium
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CBY vs CRO 19:00ANZ
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BRI vs CBR 19:50SUN
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WST vs SOU 19:50ANZ
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NEW vs NZW 15:00HS
PAR vs GCT 17:30TIO
SYD vs MEL 19:30AS
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MAN vs PEN 16:00BO
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STG vs CBY 16:00ANZ
CRO vs NQL 19:00Shark Park
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GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus
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PEN vs SOU 19:50Pepp
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NEW vs STG 15:00HS
CRO vs NZW 17:30Shark Park
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
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GCT vs CBR 14:00Cbus
MEL vs WST 16:00AAMI
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NQL vs MAN 19:001300
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WST vs PEN 17:30ANZ
CRO vs PAR 19:30Shark Park
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CBR vs NEW 14:00GIO
SOU vs NQL 16:00Barlow Park
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MAN vs STG 19:00BO
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CBY vs WST 19:30ANZ
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PEN vs CRO 16:00Pepp
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CBR vs NQL 19:00GIO
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Round 19
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STG vs GCT 19:50Jubilee Oval
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MAN vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
SOU vs BRI 19:30ANZ
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NEW vs MEL 14:00HS
PEN vs PAR 16:00Pepp
Mon, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CRO 19:00AS
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Round 20
Thu, 21 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBY 19:501300
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:50SUN
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NZW 15:00GIO
GCT vs PAR 17:30Cbus
MEL vs SYD 19:30AAMI
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CRO vs NEW 14:00Shark Park
STG vs WST 16:00ANZ
Mon, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
SOU vs MAN 19:00ANZ
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Round 21
Wed, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PEN 22:00MSS
Thu, 28 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
CBY vs STG 00:00ANZ
GCT vs CRO 00:00Cbus
PAR vs WST 00:00ANZ
SOU vs CBR 00:00ANZ
MAN vs NEW 00:00BO
NQL vs MEL 00:001300
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Round 22
Thu, 04 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs BRI 00:00WIN
PAR vs MAN 00:00Pirtek
CRO vs CBR 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
MEL vs SOU 00:00AAMI
GCT vs NZW 00:00Cbus
WST vs NQL 00:00VAS
PEN vs SYD 00:00Pepp
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Round 23
Wed, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SOU 22:00MSS
Thu, 11 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MAN 00:00ANZ
BRI vs PAR 00:00SUN
WST vs GCT 00:00CSS
STG vs CRO 00:00Jubilee Oval
NEW vs PEN 00:00HS
SYD vs NQL 00:00AS
CBR vs MEL 00:00GIO
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Round 24
Thu, 18 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
SYD vs STG 00:00AS
NEW vs GCT 00:00HS
NQL vs NZW 00:001300
MAN vs MEL 00:00BO
CBR vs PAR 00:00GIO
PEN vs WST 00:00Pepp
SOU vs CRO 00:00ANZ
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Round 25
Wed, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs WST 22:00MSS
Thu, 25 AugTimes shown AEST
CBY vs NQL 00:00Belmore Sports Ground
MEL vs BRI 00:00AAMI
GCT vs PEN 00:00Cbus
MAN vs CBR 00:00BO
CRO vs SYD 00:00Shark Park
NEW vs SOU 00:00HS
PAR vs STG 00:00Pirtek
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Round 26
Wed, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs PAR 22:00MSS
Thu, 01 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 00:00SUN
CBY vs SOU 00:00ANZ
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
NQL vs GCT 00:001300
MEL vs CRO 00:00AAMI
WST vs CBR 00:00VAS
PEN vs MAN 00:00Pepp
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