Cowboys hooker Watts cops one-week ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys hooker Watts cops one-week ban

21/07/2009 06:49:53 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has likened Robbie Farah's punch-up with North Queensland rival Anthony Watts to a backyard scuffle, claiming neither should have been charged over the fracas.

The Tigers on Tuesday begrudgingly accepted the early guilty plea for Farah's grade one striking charge to avoid suspension, Sheens admitting the move had more to do with the club's perilous finals hopes than an admission of guilt.

Farah was charged after hitting Watts with a retaliatory punch in a scrum at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, his revenge attack coming two minutes after Watts had landed the first blow in a previous scrum.

Watts will miss one game after also taking the early plea - his loss leaving the Cowboys without their three first choice hookers - but Sheens claimed neither player should have had a case to answer.

"You're almost forced to take the plea because you can't afford to risk losing the game," Sheens said.

"Robbie wanted to fight it and I was in the same mood to be quite honest.

"I see it as no different to your young son coming home from next door upset that his mate's just hit him - his mate being the same age and so on - most fathers would send the boy straight back ... you send him back to sort it out himself.

"I didn't see this as any different - he went back to the backyard, in this case the scrum ... it was between two guys."

Both players were binned as a result of the double attack, Sheens adamant that was penalty enough.

"Sin-binning the two boys during the game was a fair penalty to pay - and I don't think the boy from the Cowboys should have got cited either," Sheens said.

"The mix-up came when the referees didn't get it sorted out in the first place.

"I was disappointed to see them charged, I wasn't surprised - it was just two young men having it out, they shook hands after the game and I don't think the judiciary was sending a bad message in my opinion to have let it stay there."

While the Tigers will welcome the availability of Farah as they look to keep their late season charge to the finals alive when they take on Canberra on Sunday, Watts' ban has left the Cowboys in a hole.

With first-choice rake Aaron Payne (shoulder) and back-up Clint Amos (knee) already out for the season, the Cowboys have been forced to turn to five-eighth Travis Burns in the No.9 jumper for the home game against Penrith on Saturday night.

It's the last thing the Cowboys would have wanted as they look to get their finals campaign back on track following the loss to the Tigers, the Cowboys and Panthers both on 22 competition points with the loser in danger of dropping out of the top this weekend.

Meanwhile, Bulldogs winger Matt Utai escaped suspension after pleading guilty to a dangerous throw charge, though it wasn't enough to see him retain his spot for Saturday night's match against Parramatta.

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