Rugby League


Dog put down for Slater attack

James Graham committed one of the ''grubbiest acts'' in rugby league by biting Billy Slater's ear in the grand final and the NRL judiciary needs to ensure it never happens again, Canberra prop Brett White says.

Canterbury front-rower Graham has been referred directly to the judiciary after his unsavoury incident with Slater soured Melbourne's premiership triumph on Sunday night.

Six years after being the alleged victim of a biting scandal involving Fuifui Moimoi, White wants the NRL to find a punishment ''which fits the crime''.

Slater's ear had a visible cut on it yesterday as the Storm continued to celebrate their 14-4 win.

His clash with Graham overshadowed the victory, and the Bulldogs prop faces an extended stint on the sideline if the judiciary finds him guilty.

White still remembers seeing bite marks on his arm in 2006 when he was playing for Melbourne. He reported it to the referees, but was shocked when the Parramatta man escaped suspension.


''It's one of the grubbiest acts in the game that shouldn't happen,'' White, who now plays for the Raiders, said.

''I had my six-year-old son asking me why someone bit Bill's ear … you shouldn't have to explain that to a six-year-old.

''I've got no doubt the NRL will take the right action, they'll find a penalty which fits the crime.

''I think it's one of the worst things you can do on a football field, bar eye gouging … we can't accept that in our game.

''It doesn't happen that often, but when it does happen you need to have the right punishment so we don't see it again.''

Graham will appear at the judiciary on Thursday night after being charged with dangerous conduct - biting.

The past two NRL players banned for biting served a combined 12 weeks. Gold Coast's William Zillman copped four weeks for biting South Sydney's Jamie Simpson in 2009, while Canterbury's Brad Morrin was suspended for eight weeks for trying to take a chunk out of Parramatta's Timana Tahu in 2007.

White, a former Storm teammate of Slater, was at the grand final at ANZ Stadium.

He conceded it was hard to prove biting allegations at the judiciary and said it would have been hard for referees Tony Archer and Ben Cummins to send Graham off.

But while Moimoi was able to avoid suspension, White expects the video evidence of Graham's incident to result in a lengthy punishment.

''We had a fantastic grand final with two top sides and to have a biting incident overshadow all of that … we don't want that for our game,'' he said.

''Our game is better than that, it's such a shame that you've got to try to explain it to a six-year-old, we can't have it.

''He's definitely facing a fair stint on the sideline.

''I think there's a lot more video evidence to show that he did bite him than my incident.

''I've got no doubt they'll take the right action.''

Former Raiders skipper Alan Tongue described it as ''a low act'', and the intent involved made Graham's actions far more serious.

''With the careless high shots things can go wrong and it can get ugly, but there's usually not that much malice involved in it,'' he said.

''An issue like this, it's a pretty low act and there's real intent there, he knew what he was doing.''

''It's definitely something I think the game will come down pretty hard on, because it was in a grand final it's created so much more attention.''

Tongue was Raiders captain in 2008 when former Canberra playmaker Todd Carney accused Jarrod Saffy of biting him on the forearm. Carney testified against Saffy at the judiciary, but the Dragons forward was cleared.

However, the visual evidence of the Graham incident is far more overwhelming, and he looks set for a lengthy ban.