NRL: Ear bite claim overshadows Storm win

James Graham appeared to bite down on Billy Slater's ear during the grand final. Photo / Getty Images
James Graham appeared to bite down on Billy Slater's ear during the grand final. Photo / Getty Images

James Graham's debut NRL season ended in disgrace on Sunday night after the Canterbury prop was accused of a dog act in their grand final loss to Melbourne.

Graham seemed to have a brain snap when he became entangled with Billy Slater following a try to Sam Perrett in the 25th minute which erupted into a brawl, and he appeared to bite down on the Storm fullback's left ear.

Replays on the big screen at ANZ Stadium showed Graham baring his teeth and moving in towards Slater's ear and the 2011 Dally M medal winner left no doubt about his feelings when he went to referee Tony Archer.

"He bit me in the ear," Slater said.

The Queensland and Australia representative then went to captain Cameron Smith and repeated his accusation as Graham was placed on report.

A hefty suspension seems assured for the England international, considering the past two NRL players banned for biting served a combined 12 weeks.

Gold Coast's Will Zillman copped four weeks for biting South Sydney's Jamie Simpson in 2009, while Brad Morrin was suspended for eight weeks for trying to take a chunk out of Parramatta's Timana Tahu.

Graham seemed lucky to stay on the field but Smith understood the decision to not send him off.

"It's a bit hard to (send him off)," Smith said.

"(Referee) Tony (Archer) explained it to me great. He said it's on report and it will be dealt with after the game.

"It's something that was out of our control. We can't control what video referee decisions are so we just played on.

"It's an accusation. We've got to wait for the report to come in but it doesn't concern us. (But) we've just won a premiership that's what concerns us."

The Bulldogs understood the severity of the accusation, refusing any and every opportunity to talk about the matter which will be put in front of the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Coach Des Hasler deflected a post-match question about the allegation, captain Michael Ennis followed suit and the players who were allowed to speak post-match took the same path.

Centre Krisnan Inu was in the middle of the initial scuffle when he went in to protect teammate Perrett, who had copped knees in the back from Slater while scoring the try.

"I was probably the instigator there (by pushing Slater), it was just the hype in the moment," Inu said.

"Everytime one of our boys dives in the corner there's always got to be somebody rolling over the top and I just wasn't taking it this time.

"I didn't see (the biting incident), there was only Jaiman Lowe in front of me. That's all I could see.

"He's a big boy. Especially when he's got his hand on my throat."

- AAP

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