Posted: 29 July, 2015
Jesse Bromwich was found not guilty at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night of biting Josh Dugan
Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich accused of biting St George Illawarra star Josh Dugan Photo: YouTube screen grab Video: YouTube
Jesse Bromwich was found not guilty at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night of biting Josh Dugan.
The judiciary panel of Bob Lindner, Mal Cochrane and Don McKinnon took just three minutes to reach their verdict after a hearing that lasted an hour and a half.
The Melbourne prop is free to play in Friday's round-21 fixture against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.
"I'm just relieved to get the result," Bromwich said after the verdict was read out.
"I'm happy they gave me a fair hearing. I never felt guilty and I will move forward to this Friday night."
The panel accepted Bromwich's version of events over the incident in the 69th minute of the Storm's clash with St George Illawarra on Saturday at Napier.
In giving evidence, the Kiwi international asserted he was having trouble breathing as a result of a medical condition, as Dugan wrapped his right arm around Bromwich's face while he lay on the ground.
According to a medical report tendered to the hearing, Bromwich had surgery on a broken nose on June 30, which left him breathing with difficulty through his nose, especially when he was tired.
Bromwich asserted any pressure Dugan felt on his biceps was him attempting to breathe.
"I definitely didn't bite him," Bromwich told the hearing.
"I have been playing rugby league for a long time and I have never bitten anyone before. I play the game hard but fair and biting is just dirty. I don't know what he felt but I didn't bite him."
In giving evidence, Dugan admitted he was doing "ground work", or wrestling, on Bromwich in a bid to slow down the Kiwi international's play the ball. However, he was adamant Bromwich bit him.
"I know what a bite feels like," Dugan said.
Dugan reeled out of the tackle visibly irate and, in the following few tackles, repeatedly attempted to gain the attention of referee Matt Cecchin to alert him of his concerns he had been bitten.
The NSW fullback said he could see "a red mark, an outline of saliva, an outline of the mouth" on his arm.
However, in his match report, Cecchin said: "I didn't see any mark, which could be due to the player's tattoos".
Bromwich's defence counsel Nick Ghabar seized on Cecchin's remarks in his closing statement and on Dugan's evidence that the Storm star perhaps couldn't breathe.
Cecchin said the evidence was "inconclusive" and, as such, the panel couldn't find his client guilty.
Prosecutor Peter McGrath's claims that it was "not an extravagant bite", but a bite nonetheless, were dismissed by the panel. - AAP Reports
Earlier On Triple M
Jesse Bromwich could be hit with one of the NRL's biggest ever suspensions when he fronts the judiciary on Wednesday night to defend himself against allegations of biting.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LIVE: Hear all the NRL action live on Triple M.
Melbourne prop Bromwich is accused of biting St George Illawarra star Josh Dugan in the 69th minute of the Storm's win over the Dragons in Napier on Saturday.
The New Zealand international has had his dangerous contact referred straight to the judiciary.
Dugan will appear at the judiciary to testify against Bromwich.
Bromwich Alleged Biting Incident (Watch From 2.40-minute mark)
Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich accused of biting Josh Dugan. Watch from the 2.40-minute mark Video: YouTube
James Graham Biting Incident
The last player found guilty of biting was Canterbury prop James Graham in the 2012 grand final loss to the Storm.
Graham was hit with a 12-game ban, the equal third longest suspension in NRL history.
A similar ban would rub Bromwich out of the rest of the NRL season and the Kiwi's end of season tour to Europe.
LONGEST NRL SUSPENSIONS
July 2004: Danny Williams, striking, 18 matches
March 2005: John Hopoate, striking, 17 matches
August 2004: Clint Newton, striking, 12 matches
March 2001: John Hopoate, contrary conduct, 12 matches
July 2012: Travis Burns, intentional high tackle, 12 matches
September 2012: James Graham, contrary conduct - biting, 12 matches
March 2003: Luke O'Donnell, striking, 11 matches
April 2002: Tim Maddison, striking, 10 matches
April 2004: Greg Bird, striking, 10 matches
August 2005: Luke MacDougall, grade five dangerous throw, 10 matches
May 1998: Josh Stuart, intentional high tackle, 10 matches
June 2006: Lopini Paea, grade five dangerous throw, 10 matches
NRL players charge with biting
Round 2, 2001: Chris Beattie (Cronulla) - guilty, two weeks
Round 21, 2002: Luke Bailey (St George Illawarra) - exonerated
Round 14, 2006: Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta) - exonerated
Round 21, 2007: Brad Morrin (Canterbury) - guilty, eight weeks
Round 3, 2008: Jarrad Saffy (St George Illawarra) - exonerated
Round 23, 2009: William Zillman (Gold Coast) - guilty, 4 weeks
Round 23, 2010: Scott Bolton (North Queensland) - exonerated
Grand final, 2012: James Graham (Canterbury) - guilty, 12 weeks
Source: Fox Sports Stats