Zillman banned for four weeks for biting - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Zillman banned for four weeks for biting

19/08/2009 08:36:32 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast will consider appealing a four-match suspension handed to fullback William Zillman after he was found guilty of biting South Sydney's Jamie Simpson at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

The Titans were clearly upset at the guilty verdict and suspension which rules the exciting young star out of action until at least the second week of the NRL finals series.

"It is fair to say the club and William is bitterly disappointed with the outcome," said Titans chief executive Michael Searle.

"But what we will be doing over the next 24 hours is considering our options from here."

After a 90-minute hearing the three-man judiciary panel of Mark Coyne, Bob Lindner and Sean Garlick took only a few minutes to deliver a guilty verdict and not much longer to arrive at the 400 demerit point penalty.

NRL prosecutor Peter Kite asked the panel to hand down a punishment ranging from 400-550 points, in comparison with the last player found guilty of biting - the Bulldogs' Brad Morrin who was suspended for eight games in 2007.

The judiciary was also urged to take into account Zillman's unblemished disciplinary record in rugby league that stretches back 17 years to the age of six without a single send-off or citing.

The panel viewed two angles of television footage of the incident last Friday, plus received written reports from referees Tony Archer, Gerard Sutton, touch judge Chris James and Simpson.

South Sydney also provided the NRL with video footage of the bite marks taken at half time, as well as photographs.

On-field audio was also presented as evidence with the vision and Simpson could be clearly heard to yell at the point of contact "F***, he bit me. He just bit me."

Simpson supported his evidence when he appeared as a witness at the judiciary hearing, and denied he had told Zillman in a conversation at fulltime that he would not proceed with his on-field complaint.

Zillman accepted his mouth came into contact with Simpson's forearm, but told the judiciary it was a result of force in the tackle and his mouth was always "relaxed" and open.

The 23-year-old said once he realised the position he was in he pulled away and did not at any stage clamp down with his jaw.

"What happened was as soon as I turned my head I realised the position I was in and I could feel his arm in my mouth," said Zillman.

"As quickly as I could I turned my head back to where it came from with my mouth still open."

Zillman's defence counsel Geoff Bellew argued that the Titans fullback had no control of his head during the tackle and Simpson had no right putting his forearm across the Gold Coast player's face.

They argued, unsuccessfully, that the minor indentations left on Simpson's arm were the result of an open mouth from pressure applied by the opposition onto Zillman's head.

"I'm not calling Mr Simpson a liar, I'm not attacking his credibility but in the moment people jump to conclusions when no other conclusion is available," said Bellew.

"You did not see at any stage of this tackle William Zillman's jaw move in any way consistent with a biting action.

"It did not happen, there is simply no biting action.

"If he wanted to inflict an intentional bite on someone at that point there was the perfect opportunity for him to do it."

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