Head of football Graham Annesley has defended the NRL judicial process that found Kevin Proctor guilty of biting, saying the referee had no alternative but to send him off.
The Gold Coast captain could yet cop a further sanction to go with his four-week ban for biting Cronulla’s Shaun Johnson, who is also in potential trouble for breaking judiciary protocols.
Both players could land in hot water for making public comment before Tuesday night’s hearing.
Responding to criticism of the bunker’s interference in the decision and Proctor’s conviction despite Johnson’s tribunal testimony, Annesley said on Wednesday the entire procedure followed correct protocol.
“Even if Kevin had been exonerated (on Tuesday night), I don’t believe referee Henry Perenara had any alternative but to take the action he did based on the circumstances he was confronted with,” Annesley said.
“He had a very irate Shaun Johnson verbally claiming to have been bitten, combined with high definition video evidence from the bunker, that at the very least supported Shaun’s claim on a prima facie basis.
“This was a very unique situation compared to previous on-field complaints of biting. In most, if not all previous claims of biting, it has simply come down to one player’s word against another without any clear video evidence to assist.
“There was no procedural error in the way the referee and the bunker dealt with the matter.
“Unless as a game, we at some point decide to remove the power of dismissal from referees completely and deal with all incidents post-match, in my opinion the match officials in this case dealt with the matter appropriately.”
It comes as both players wait to hear if they will be served a breach notice for speaking publicly before the judiciary hearing.
In an interview on Sunday, Proctor maintained he did not bite Johnson and he was “so pissed off about” being sent off for the incident in Gold Coast’s loss to the Sharks.
Johnson then took to Instagram before the hearing to stress while he first felt a nibble on his arm, he believed Proctor’s claims he hadn’t bitten him.
NRL judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew made no secret of his frustrations over the public comments when he directed his panel on Tuesday night.
“It is not for players to conduct their defence in the media,” Bellew said.
“The players are provided with this forum that we are in at the moment for that purpose.”