Morley suspended for seven NRL matches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Morley suspended for seven NRL matches

26/07/2006 07:33:16 PM Comments (0)

The NRL career of Sydney Roosters prop Adrian Morley is over after the Great Britain Test star was handed a seven-match ban by the NRL judiciary for kneeing Bulldogs hooker Corey Hughes.

It brings to an end Morley's colourful six-year stay at the Bondi Junction club which included one premiership success in 2001 but which was tarnished by a sizeable judiciary record.

The suspension is his 11th in total for a total of 27 weeks on the sidelines.

Morley had been hoping to play at least one more match for the Roosters but with only six rounds of the NRL premiership remaining and the club unlikely to feature in this year's finals series, the Englishman has played his last match under Ricky Stuart before returning home to play with Warrington in the UK Super League.

The seven-match ban will however free Morley to play in some if not all of Great Britain's Tri-Nations campaign with his legal team to make a submission to judiciary chairman Greg Woods to allow a tour match scheduled for before the start of the tournament to count as part of his suspension.

"I'm bitterly disappointed my NRL and Roosters career finished this way, I would have liked to have played for the Roosters but that's not to be," Morley said.

"I'd like to thank the NRL for a fair hearing."

Morley was sent off by rookie referee Jarred Maxwell after kneeing Hughes in the abdomen in the 68th minute of Saturday night's 25-0 loss at Telstra Stadium with his ungraded striking charge referred straight to the NRL judiciary.

Morley pleaded for mercy before the three-man panel of Bob Lindner, Mark Coyne and Jason Stevens saying he was desperate to play for the Roosters again and take part in the Tri-Nations series.

He claimed he attacked Hughes after believing the Bulldogs rake had punched Roosters teammate Ashley Harrison as he got up to play the ball.

"I certainly didn't intend to knee him, that wasn't my intention," Morley said.

"I'm very regretful ... it was a stupid thing to do, it was a brain snap really."

NRL judiciary counsel Peter Kite had called for a nine-week ban after labelling his act a "blight on the game" while also comparing it to Greg Bird's kneeing suspension from 2004.

The Cronulla utility, who was the last player to be sent off for kneeing in a match, was banned for 10 weeks for his knee to the head of South Sydney centre Shane Marteene.

Morley's defence team, headed by Geoff Bellew, argued unlike Morley's actions Bird's strike was premeditated.

He also supplied a written submission from Bulldogs prop Willie Mason which called on the judiciary panel to go easy on the fiery Roosters big man.

Bellew also argued while Morley's rap sheet was in fact extensive it was littered with relatively minor incidents with the kneeing incident the first time Morley had been charged with "intentionally striking another player".

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