Bryce Gibbs banned for three games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bryce Gibbs banned for three games

26/08/2009 07:53:20 PM Comments (0)

The NRL judiciary hammered in what could well be the final nail in the coffin that is Wests Tigers' brave finals bid after suspending prop Bryce Gibbs for three matches on Wednesday night.

Gibbs was unsuccessful in gaining a downgrade on his grade two dangerous conduct charge, with his only hope of playing again in 2009 being if the Tigers make it to week two of the finals.

That scenario is looking more and more unlikely however with Gibbs' suspension compounding a lengthy injury toll with the back three of Shannon Gallant, Taniela Tuiaki and Beau Ryan all missing.

That list could grow before Saturday night's must win clash against Gold Coast at Skilled Park with forwards John Skandalis and Chris Heighington both in doubt due to injury.

The tenth-placed Tigers need to win both of their last two matches to be a chance of a finals berth, but Gibbs won't play any part in that bid after kneeing Luke Burt in the buttock as the Parramatta winger scored a try midway through the first half of Friday night's NRL clash.

Had Gibbs been granted his downgrade, he would have been allowed to play this weekend.

"Very disappointing for us tonight. In the context of our season we paid a very big price for the eight-point try and add into that a three-game suspension for Bryce for what was accepted as accidental contact, it's a tough one for us," Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys said.

"But we'll accept the judgement and move on."

Gibbs declined to comment after the hearing, with Humphreys acknowledging the tough prop was shattered by the result.

"He was very disappointed as you would expect and was quite shattered, but he'll regroup," Humphreys said.

"Hopefully we'll stay in the competition long enough to get him back on the field this year.

Judiciary counsel Peter Kite SC claimed the reckless nature of Gibbs' late hit on Burt deemed the charge worth of a higher grading.

"It was reckless in the sense that he must have foreseen this incident occurring, but he carried on anyway," Kite argued.

Kite claimed Burt was in a vulnerable position when attacked by the Tigers front rower, adding "there's no justification for the conduct" as he called for the higher grading in a bid to help eradicate the practice of tryscorers being attacked after touching down.

Gibbs' legal representative Geoff Bellew SC claimed his client was only one metre away by the time Burt touched down and could not have pulled up in time.

Bellew also used comparable incidents - including the grade one hit which cost Eels backrower Nathan Hindmarsh one match for kneeing Darren Lockyer earlier this year - to plead his case for a downgrade.

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