3 days ago
St George Illawarra forward Jarrod Saffy will contest the allegation that he bit Canberra halfback Todd Carney when he appears at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
Saffy on Tuesday entered a not guilty plea to his contrary conduct charge, having been referred straight to the judiciary by the match review committee on Monday.
Carney accused Saffy of biting his arm in a tackle during Canberra's win over the Dragons at Canberra Stadium last Saturday and the matter was put on report by the referee.
Bulldogs forward Brad Morrin was banned for eight matches last year after pleading guilty to biting Parramatta's Timana Tahu.
But the previous two players to fight the charge - former Dragons prop Luke Bailey in 2002 and Parramatta forward Fuifui Moimoi in 2006 - were both found not guilty by the judiciary.
Meanwhile, Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen has copped a three-match ban for raking the face of Gold Coast forward Anthony Laffranchi after pleading guilty to his contrary conduct charge on Tuesday.
The Sharks had risked losing the NSW forward for four games if he challenged the charge at the judiciary.
But after viewing video footage of the incident and consulting their legal team on Tuesday morning, the club announced its decision to take the early plea.
Gallen re-opened a nasty wound on the heavily bandaged head of Laffranchi during the incident from Saturday's game at Skilled Park, forcing the Titans forward from the field.
North Queensland five-eighth Travis Burns has also received a one-match ban after pleading guilty to a dangerous throw.
But both Brisbane winger Reece Robinson (dangerous throw) and Melbourne veteran Matt Geyer (contrary conduct, unnecessary face contact) have avoided suspension after entering early pleas.
Gallen will be available for the round seven match against Wests Tigers, but will miss games against St George Illawarra, South Sydney and Penrith.
The suspension comes just a week after prop Ben Ross was rubbed out for seven games for striking Manly half Matt Orford, and with the Sharks already missing four others, including in-form forward Reece Williams and Brett Seymour (both knee), to injury.
Despite branding the incident as "stupid", Sharks coach Ricky Stuart on Tuesday said he had never considered stripping the captaincy away from the inspirational backrower.
"Certainly, I wouldn't take the captaincy off Paul for this, no," Stuart told Sydney radio 2KY.
"I've got a bloke that is very passionate and emotional about the job and there's no way that I would take it off him.
"It's just something he has to learn from.
"I'm disappointed, but disappointed for the players. We got off to a good start and now we've got six players sitting on the sideline and two players are there because of their own stupid actions."