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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 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
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SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
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SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
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SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
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MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
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MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
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SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
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CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
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GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
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STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
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MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
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SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
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NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
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PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
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GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
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Round 13
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BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
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NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
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CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
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CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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Round 14
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WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
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MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
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Round 15
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MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
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Round 16
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BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
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NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
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SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
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CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
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PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
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MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
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CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
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PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
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NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
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GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
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PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
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SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
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BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
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NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
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Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI ($1.53)vs MEL ($2.50) 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.35)vs SOU ($3.20) 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($1.80)vs NEW ($2.00) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.60)vs WST ($2.35) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.22)vs GCT ($4.25) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.35) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.55)vs MAN ($2.45) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.05)vs NZW ($10.00) 18:30ANZ
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