Slater cops an earful from Bulldog
Oh no: James Graham seems to bite Billy Slater. Photo: Channel Nine
MELBOURNE Storm full-back Billy Slater made the complaint on the field, the replays appeared to back up his accusation, but in the end, no one was talking about James Graham's Mike Tyson-moment after the Storm's 14-4 grand final win over Canterbury last night at ANZ Stadium.
Slater claimed that Graham had bitten his ear during a scuffle that immediately followed the Bulldogs' first try to Sam Perrett that levelled the scores at 4-4. The all-in melee began when Krisnan Inu pushed Slater, who was being grabbed by David Stagg before tussling with Graham.
Television footage appeared to show Graham clamp down near the side of Slater's head, with Slater getting up from the ground complaining that he had been bitten.
Storm captain Cameron Smith relayed the complaint to referee Tony Archer who said there was not enough evidence to take action against Graham on the field but he would put the incident on report for the match review committee to investigate today.
But after the game, Slater, who was sporting a red mark on his left ear, refused to answer questions about the incident, saying only: ''I've got no comment about that, sorry''.
Smith said: ''Tony explained it to me [on the field]. He said it was on report and it would be dealt with after the game so we just played on. We can't control what the referees' decisions are so we just played on
''Billy came to me and said he felt that he was bitten, but again that's what he felt. There were a couple of replays but I'm not part of the match review committee, no one at the Melbourne Storm is so we'll just let them take care of it.''
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he was angered that the incident had taken the gloss of the premiership win.
''We just won a premiership, whatever happened in the game, it's done now,'' Bellamy said. ''All we're concerned with is the scoreboard, we won and at the end of the day it's not our decision to make.
''Someone else will make that so they're the guys you should be asking the question to.
''I didn't see too much of the footage actually. I missed it, I saw a bit of a scuffle. I knew that Sam had scored the try so I was getting set for what we had to do next, so I didn't look at it all that closely.''
Canterbury coach Des Hasler and captain Michael Ennis also refused to comment.
Meanwhile, Bellamy said pride was his overwhelming emotion as he watched the team he rebuilt from scratch win its first official premiership under his reign.
Two years after the club was busted for salary cap cheating and stripped of two premierships [2007 and 2009], the Storm was too strong for this year's minor premier Canterbury.
Although the players have denied it was the motivation, the title will be sweet redemption for the likes of Smith, Slater and Cooper Cronk. But Bellamy said it was also a fitting result for the lesser-profile players, the likes of Bryan Norrie and the retiring Jaiman Lowe.
''They've worked so hard to achieve what they've achieved tonight,'' Bellamy said. ''The defence was outstanding in the second half, simply outstanding.
''I couldn't be more proud of the footy team than I am now.''
Melbourne lock Todd Lowrie admitted his own grand-final victory - in his final match for the Storm - probably shouldn't have happened after he suffered a calf injury in the side's final training session on Saturday.
He was sent for scans and admitted he was not confident of playing.
''I had to go and have scans [on Saturday afternoon], and had to pass a fitness test [yesterday morning], while the boys were playing cricket,'' Lowrie said. ''It was pretty sore, to be honest. I was up during the night icing it and getting physio. I was that far away from not playing. I thought it was over. But I woke up this morning and I wasn't too bad.''
With GLENN JACKSON