O'Donnell outed for seven games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Donnell outed for seven games

By Todd Balym 04/06/2008 10:13:40 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland's season of misery plunged further with former Test forward Luke O'Donnell outed for seven weeks by the NRL judiciary after being found guilty of two striking charges.

O'Donnell was found to have recklessly struck both Penrith's Luke Priddis and Luke Lewis in the neck or head region with his forearm during tackles in a spiteful clash in Townsville last Saturday night resulting in separate three week bans.

He was sent off following his hit on Lewis following a report of "intentional" contact by sideline official Russell Turner and his subsequent abuse aimed at the touch judge also earned a charge by the match review committee for which O'Donnell accepted a one week ban.

The former Test and NSW lock is now unavailable until the Cowboys round 21 home clash with the Sydney Roosters, but given their current place at 15th on the NRL table it is foreseeable North Queensland's finals chances could be over by the time of his return.

O'Donnell refused to talk to the media after the hearing, but Cowboys general manager football Dean Lance made a brief statement saying the club was bitterly disappointed with the result.

"We are very disappointed with the outcome," said Lance.

"We believe the penalty is excessive in the extreme.

"We don't believe that was the result we deserved."

Lance did not respond when asked if the Cowboys would appeal the decision.

The Cowboys were confident they'd mounted a strong argument protesting O'Donnell's innocence, with the player himself making several animated descriptions during the hearing of his intent to merely push away the Panthers players with the loose fend.

O'Donnell claimed he used his arm as a "bumper bar" to bounce off his opponents, with his stated aim to position his right hand on their shoulder and push away from the defender with his hand although his forearm subsequently made contact with their chest.

"I use my right arm as a bumper bar to absorb the impact of the collision," O'Donnell told the panel.

"And as leverage to get space and push them off.

"There was no real great force in it. I did not feel any great force in those collisions.

"I have been running the same way and doing those sort of things for nine years or whatever it is I have been playing in the NRL."

This is not the first time O'Donnell has been found guilty of striking an opponent with his forearm as he was suspended for 11 weeks for the same act which broke Michael Monaghan's jaw in 2003.

But O'Donnell maintains his act is not deliberate, illegal or aimed to cause harm, even after prosecutor Peter Kite pointed out both Penrith players struggled to their feet in obvious pain after the contact.

"Yeah, he does that a bit," responded O'Donnell when told of Priddis reacting slowly to his feet.

"There's a fair bit of gamesmanship."

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