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Learoyd-Lahrs out for rest of NRL season

20/08/2008 08:37:27 PM Comments (0)

Canberra claimed they were not given a fair hearing after forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs was suspended for the rest of the season by the NRL judiciary for his dangerous throw on Ben Cross.

Learoyd-Lahrs was rubbed out for seven matches after unsuccessfully attempting to have his dangerous throw charge downgraded from a grade four to a grade three.

It means he cannot play again this season, even if the Raiders go all the way to the grand final.

"Tom is bitterly disappointed at the outcome, so are we as a club," Raiders chief executive Don Furner said.

Furner was most annoyed the judiciary panel did not downgrade the charge after being shown examples of dangerous throws by Justin Hodges, Nate Myles, Todd Payten and Danny Galea that were deemed grade twos and threes.

"We do not see the differences in Tom's tackle and the ones that we looked at in there," Furner said.

"I cannot believe it's a grade four.

"You look at Todd Payten's and it's a grade two, I can't believe (Learoyd-Lahrs') is two more than Todd Payten's," he added of the Wests Tigers prop who was suspended for three weeks for his throw on Matt Cooper.

Asked whether he felt a fair trial had been given, Furner said: "No I don't.

"I mean, I've looked at some stuff before, you look at (Raiders captain) Alan Tongue getting smashed by a bloke off the ball earlier in the year and he doesn't get anything.

"It definitely wasn't a four and we're very disappointed."

Learoyd-Lahrs lifted Cross before dumping the NSW Origin representative into the ground early in the second half of Sunday's 38-18 win over the Knights.

A reduction would have seen Learoyd-Lahrs suspended for only three weeks, but the judiciary panel of former players Mark Coyne, Darrell Williams and Don McKinnon decided the original grading would stand.

Learoyd-Lahrs could have taken a five-week suspension with an early guilty plea.

The Raiders had argued that Cross had a tendency to lean forwards into tackles, meaning he was more prone to being flipped, while Learoyd-Lahrs claimed he was attempting a rare low tackle on the advice of his teammate.

"I tried to make a point of going in a bit lower which I usually wouldn't do," Learoyd-Lahrs said in the hearing.

"I didn't think I would lift him so easy because he's such a big bloke."

Raiders teammate Scott Logan also attended the hearing, claiming he played a small part in the tackle but NRL prosecutor Peter Kite successfully argued the panel should take a tough stance on the "potentially life-threatening" throw.

Earlier, Wests Tigers second rower Corey Payne accepted a one-match ban for making unnecessary conduct with the face of Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne in Monday night's loss to the Eels.

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