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Bulldogs stripped of two NRL points

03/04/2009 08:13:26 PM Comments (0)

The Bulldogs will appeal an NRL ruling which saw them officially stripped of two competition points for fielding an extra player in their round two win over Penrith.

The NRL's decision capped a dramatic day off the field for the Bulldogs, with former player Reni Maitua launching his unfair dismissal case against the Belmore-based club.

The Bulldogs were punted back to tenth spot on the ladder on Friday after the NRL threw out their appeal against the severity of the sanction for using 14 players during their heart-stopping 28-26 win over the Panthers.

Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg wasted little time in indicating the club would seek leave to appeal the decision before the NRL Appeals Committee.

"We're not surprised the NRL knocked back our initial appeal, we'll now seek leave to appeal the matter before the NRL Appeals Committee under Sir Laurence Street," Greenberg said.

"The NRL made the initial decision and then we wrote our appeal back to the same people effectively, that's why this is no surprise.

"Effectively our preparation has always been to go before Sir Laurence Street.

"We think we've got a strong case that we think will highlight the fact that a number of precedents have been set.

"We'll continue to argue the severity of the penalty, that the loss of two competition points is too harsh a penalty to pay for what was an honest mistake."

The breach was found to occur when skipper Andrew Ryan was called back onto the field by a trainer who was attending an injured Michael Ennis near the halfway line.

Ryan rejoined the attacking line as Ben Roberts, who had entered the field of play as a replacement for Ryan, crossed for the try which allowed Hazem El Masri to knock over the last-minute conversion to hand the Bulldogs a dramatic win.

If leave to appeal is granted, an Appeals Committee comprising Sir Laurence Street, a nominee of the Rugby League Players Association and a representative of the Chairman of the NRL Club Council would sit on the hearing.

Maitua's day in court came just two days before he was due to face his former teammates when the Bulldogs host Cronulla at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The unfair dismissal case will proceed to the Industrial Relations Commission.

Maitua was sacked by the Bulldogs late last year after failing to turn up to a training session, that breach the final straw for the club following several other off-field incidents.

"The Bulldogs stand by the original decision to terminate Reni's contract and we will continue to demand the highest standards of behaviour from our players," Greenberg said.

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