By Angela Beswick
Canterbury Bulldogs forward James Graham has been found guilty by the NRL judiciary of biting the ear of Storm fullback Billy Slater in last week's Grand Final.
After a marathon hearing that lasted more than three hours, Graham was tonight suspended for 12 matches.
Graham pleaded not guilty to the bite, which left Slater with two small marks near the top of his ear. However, the Bulldogs' chief executive Todd Greenberg admitted on Tuesday night that video footage of the incident was ''damning''.
Following tonight's hearing, he said the club is "extremely disappointed".
"We disagree with the ruling, but do not dispute the process."
Angry players had demanded to know why Graham was not sent off during the match. Instead he was put on report, with referee Tony Archer saying he did not have enough evidence for harsher action.
Asked if he wanted to make a formal complaint against Graham, Slater said: “F---ing oath. He bit me”.
An early guilty plea would have seen Graham suspended for eight weeks. The prosecution at tonight's judiciary asked for a 10-12 week suspension, while Graham's defence team suggested three.
The Storm won the Grand Final 14-4, giving them their second recognized title - two years after being stripped of two premierships for salary cap rorting.