Titans appeal Zillman's biting ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans appeal Zillman's biting ban

20/08/2009 05:49:48 PM Comments (0)

Impassioned Gold Coast Titans boss Michael Searle described convicted biter William Zillman as someone he'd want his son to grow up like as he vowed to continue the fight to clear his name.

An emotion-charged Searle said on Thursday the Titans owed it to Zillman to do all they could to repair his reputation after the NRL judiciary found him guilty on Wednesday night of biting South Sydney winger Jamie Simpson.

He was banned for four games, taking in the club's historic first finals match.

The Titans today handed over a $10,000 appeal bond to the NRL but judiciary chairman Bob Abood is unable to hear final submissions from prosecuting counsel Peter Kite until Friday.

If granted, the appeal would take place before the Titans tackle Cronulla at Skilled Park on Sunday.

The Titans rejected reports they would use video evidence offered up suggesting Zillman was the victim of a "squirrel grip" tackle in which his testicles were squeezed.

Their defence will simply be that Zillman denies biting down on Simpson's lower forearm and should be believed.

"I don't want to get into the depth of what our appeal is about, it's around the findings and also the severity of the penalty," said Searle, bitterly disappointed by the month-long ban for Zillman who he says did not bite Simpson.

"Whilst there were lots of legal strategies we could have taken we always took the view that he didn't bite the lad (Simpson) and on that basis we've submitted the appeal.

"He's a young man of incredible integrity and someone I would like my son to grow up to be like.

"On that basis he has the support of his team mates, his coach and certainly this club, and we'll fight to clear his name."

Searle said the rules did not require the club to produce any fresh evidence.

Zillman's sentence can't be extended if his appeal fails.

"My understanding of the rules is that the penalty won't be increased, but part of our submission will be to argue that he didn't bite the lad and the penalty, given the facts, was excessive," said Searle.

The Titans, who were on a high last weekend after securing the club their first ever final, have requested an urgent appeal hearing so Zillman may be cleared to play at the weekend.

Searle rejected claims the club was fighting more to have Zillman cleared because he was so important to their premiership bid than for the sake of his reputation.

"I wish I could give you something more sexy, but that's the way it is - the kid said he didn't do it - he didn't do it," Searle said.

"I'll fight for him, I always will fight for him."

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