Roosters' Harrison denies NRL headbutt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters' Harrison denies NRL headbutt

By Steve Jancetic and Todd Balym 05/08/2007 07:49:00 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters lock Ashley Harrison vigorously denied claims he headbutted Warriors five-eighth Michael Witt as a wild weekend in the NRL only added to the congestion in the race for the top eight.

Only five competition points separate the fifth-placed Warriors from Newcastle in 14th position, Penrith still the only side out of finals contention despite an upset win over South Sydney.

They could be joined on the outside looking in by Cronulla on Monday night, the Sharks needing to arrest a six-game losing streak against competition leaders Melbourne if they are to stay in the hunt.

The Roosters' unbeaten run under caretaker coach Brad Fittler continued, just, as they battled it out for a 31-all golden-point draw against the Warriors.

But the thrilling contest was overshadowed by an apparent headbutt from Harrison on Witt just two days after Bulldogs forward Brad Morrin admitted to biting Parramatta centre Timana Tahu at Telstra Stadium.

Harrison and Witt both played down the incident, though video footage appeared to show the Roosters forward propelling his head toward his opponent after the two had been involved in a minor scuffle.

"I copped a bit of an elbow in the tackle and I just went towards him, I didn't go to headbutt him," Harrison said.

Asked if he thought he had been headbutted, Witt said: "I don't know, it was a tight game and sometimes tempers flare.

"That's just part of parcel of the game.

"Me and Harro had a chat after the game. We're sweet, we're mates, no big deal."

The NRL match review committee faces a busy Monday morning, with Morrin's case likely to be sent straight to the judiciary without grading.

The longest ban for biting was in 1991 when Canterbury centre Jarrod McCracken was suspended for eight matches for nibbling at South Sydney's Ross Harrington.

In all, six players have been suspended due to biting in the history of top-grade rugby league in Australia, the last being Chris Beattie for two matches in 2001.

Morrin admitted he had a "brain snap" in attacking Tahu, claiming he did it to get the Eels centre off him after he had been tackled.

The controversy aside, Sunday's golden-point draw continued a thrilling few weeks for the NRL with the race for the top eight hotting up.

Upset wins to Gold Coast and Penrith, over Wests Tigers and South Sydney respectively, have created a logjam at the bottom of the eight with only top three sides - Melbourne, Manly (both 34 points) and Parramatta (26 points) - assured of playing in September.

They are followed by North Queensland (24 points), who are set to battle it out with the Warriors (23 points) for home-ground advantage in the first week of the finals.

From there it remains a lottery.

Brisbane, the Bulldogs and Tigers are all locked on 22 points with their fate as much in the lap of the injury gods as anything else.

The Bulldogs and the Broncos are both missing key men while the Tigers should be back at full strength for Friday night's huge clash against the Roosters.

The Rabbitohs and Titans (both 20 points) face crucial games against St George Illawarra and the Warriors this weekend.

Souths will need to put the heartache of blowing a 10-0 lead over the Panthers behind them quickly with the Roosters (19 points), Dragons, Canberra and Newcastle (all 18 points) all breathing down their neck.

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