Gibbs escapes NRL match review action - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gibbs escapes NRL match review action

19/04/2010 05:41:46 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs has escaped punishment for the alleged religious slur he made against Canterbury's Ben Hannant, with NRL officials unable to find enough evidence the abuse took place.

Gibbs has dodged a contrary conduct charge from the league's on-field police, the match review committee, and also a fine from the NRL under its anti-vilification code and code of conduct.

With no audio of the incident available from the broadcasters the Nine network, match review committee chairman Greg McCallum asked referee Jared Maxwell to review all instances where the pair had come together during Friday night's 24-4 win to the Bulldogs at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"There were 14 scrums where that happened ... and there were four play-the-balls where the two came into contact with each other," McCallum told AAP.

"We then contacted Jared Maxwell who was the referee who controlled most of those aspects ... and he by then had done his review which included the referees' audio tape.

"He didn't recall anything being said between the players during the game, nor when he went through his review with the audio there wasn't anything on there either."

McCallum said, while Nine's footage showed an animated Hannant speaking to somebody, it didn't identify who he was addressing.

"We felt up to that stage, in the absence of a complaint from a player, then there's nowhere we can go on it," he said.

McCallum said the case differed from those involving Paul Gallen and Mickey Paea last year and Billy Slater and Cory Paterson earlier this year because, in both, the two players were visible in the footage.

Gallen was fined $10,000 for a racial slur while Slater escaped after Paterson accepted an apology.

Late on Monday, the NRL issued a statement saying the Bulldogs' decision to not lodge a formal complaint or provide further information meant the league would take the matter no further.

"The inability to determine the exact nature of what was said and the absence of a complaint have prevented any further action," the statement read.

But NRL boss David Gallop warned the league would not tolerate vilification from players.

"It is unacceptable to suggest that everything that happens on the field stays on the field," Gallop said in the statement.

"If nothing else, this matter should serve as a reminder that there are limits to what can be said on the field and that we all have to acknowledge society standards.

"There is certainly an element of frustration when an issue like this is raised and not satisfactorily answered.

"We can, however, only deal with the facts that we have and remind everyone that where we do have sufficient evidence on which to act, we will continue to do so."

In other match review committee news, Canberra's David Shillington has been charged with a grade one careless high tackle but will escape a ban.

Brisbane's Matt Gillett has been charged with dangerous contact with the legs/feet.

He will escape suspension if he enters the early guilty plea and miss one match if he unsuccessfully defends the grade one charge at the NRL judiciary.

Warriors interchange player Ukuma Ta'ai has been charged with a dangerous throw.

He will also escape a ban with an early guilty plea and miss one game with an unsuccessful challenge.

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