19 hours ago
Dragons' Saffy not guilty of biting
St George Illawarra forward Jarrod Saffy harbours no ill feeling toward Canberra's Todd Carney despite being cleared by the NRL judiciary of a serious biting allegation levelled at him by the Raiders halfback.
Carney claimed Saffy bit him as he attempted to remove his right arm from a 32nd minute tackle last Saturday night, but lack of video and photographic evidence at the judiciary helped ensure the Dragon was found not guilty of a contrary conduct charge.
While Saffy admitted he did witness "some sort of mark" on Carney's forearm, the three member panel of Don McKinnon, Royce Ayliffe and Darrell Williams took just 15 minutes to decide the Dragons player had not deliberately or willingly bitten Carney.
The Dragons forward said it had been a stressful time being labelled a biter, but is not upset at Carney for pressing ahead with his allegation.
"Not at all, I have nothing against him at all," said Saffy.
"He had his reasons, I can't say what they were but good luck to him.
"It clearly wasn't there, I didn't bite him and I got a fair hearing and that's what it showed.
"It's not a nice allegation and not something you want against your name.
"It's not in my nature and not what I'm about."
Judiciary chairman Greg Woods took the extraordinary step after the panel handed down its verdict in defending Carney, saying when on-field allegations are made it is important the claims are heard by a full judiciary panel and not simply dismissed.
"The NRL has a policy of where there is allegations of biting it should be brought to the match review committee and then automatically to the judiciary," said Woods.
"This is the kind of case where it's entirely possible and in the end highly likely that both players have told the truth.
"Clearly Mr Carney believed he was bitten and clearly Mr Saffy said he did not bite him."
Saffy's defence representative, former judiciary chairman Jim Hall, argued that the mark on Carney's arm was the result of direct and heavy pressure contact to the Dragon forward's open mouth and not of a deliberate or intentional bite.
Carney had earlier told the panel via video link that while he did not witness Saffy bite his arm, he felt a sharp pain on his forearm consistent with a bite.
He provided a written statement claiming to have seen top and bottom teeth marks, but under cross examination retracted the comment to just lower teeth marks.
"It was in the tackle that I felt a sharp bite," Carney told the panel.
"I did not see it, I could feel it.
"There was no mark after the game, we were going to get (photographic) evidence but it was gone."
With Saffy receiving a not guilty verdict, he is now clear to face Cronulla in Saturday's NRL clash at ANZ Stadium.