James Graham can count himself lucky
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs James Graham. AAP Image/Cameron Spencer
Bulldog James Graham got off lightly last night for two reasons when the NRL judiciary suspended him for 12 matches for biting Storm fullback Billy Slater’s left ear during last Sunday’s grand final.
Firstly, Graham plead not guilty when all the evidence was so damning.
And secondly, the 12 weeks were only four more than another Bulldog, Brad Morrin, copped for pleading guilty and was remorseful for biting Timana Tahu’s arm in 2007.
A big difference between the two charges sitting on the judiciary’s table.
The judiciary virtually made it eight NRL competition weeks by including two Tests Graham would probably have played for England in the coming northern winter, and two NRL trial games next season.
As it sits, Graham’s first game next season will be in round nine, a third of the season lost, instead of round 13 over halfway through.
It will be interesting to see ARLC chairman John Grant’s reaction to the leniency.
Grant still has to reach a decision on the “Mad Monday” Bulldog culprits to end a nightmare week for the minor premiers on top of losing the decider.
Both Graham, and the still-to-be-named culprits, suffered brain explosions to overshadow their marvellous achievements throughout the season.
Damn shame that, but the players have only themselves to blame.