Gold Coast captain Kevin Proctor’s lawyer is confident there is nothing to substantiate the allegation his client bit Cronulla halfback Shaun Johnson in an NRL match on Saturday.
Tim Fuller is part of the legal team that will represent the Titans veteran at a judiciary hearing tonight when the 31-year-old will fight a charge of dangerous contact.
Proctor faces a potentially lengthy suspension after he was referred straight to the judiciary for the alleged biting incident involving his New Zealand Test teammate during the Titans’ loss to the Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The off-contract forward became the first player in the league’s history to be sent off for biting after being given his marching orders following the incident.
Gold Coast captain Kevin Proctor allegedly biting Cronulla halfback Shaun Johnson in an NRL match.
The decision was made after on-field referee Henry Perenara received direction from the video officials that Proctor had bitten Johnson.
Fuller says that situation in itself was remarkable.
“There is no clear evidence that Shaun Johnson was bitten and ultimately the referee has relied on the video referee to make the decision to send Proctor from the field,” Fuller told the Radiotab Breakfast Show.
“It’s quite extraordinary.
“I think every person out there who is a rugby league fan could probably cast our minds back over the last say five-to-10 years and probably name a dozen different situations where the referee in similar sort of situations, when it comes to dangerous conduct have placed the incident on report.
“To make that sort of determination to send the player from the field it’s quite incredible.”
Fuller says Proctor rejects any suggestion he bit Johnson and the burden of proof will be on the NRL to show a bite occurred.
He also expects Johnson to provide evidence to the judiciary, amid reports the Sharks’ playmaker has given a character reference supporting Proctor.
“Shaun will be required to appear tonight and to be effectively cross-examined by our side and also, of course, to give his own testimony to the judiciary as to what he believes happened,” Fuller said.
Past history would suggest Proctor faces a long stint on the sidelines if he is found guilty.
Four players have been found guilty of biting since the Super League war in the 1990s.
James Graham received a 12-game suspension after infamously biting the ear of Billy Slater in the 2012 grand final.
Canterbury’s Brad Morrin copped an eight-match ban in 2007 for biting then- Parramatta centre Timana Tahu.
Several players have, however, successfully fought biting charges and been cleared including Melbourne’s Jesse Bromwich, who was exonerated in 2015.
Bromwich will be back at the judiciary on Tuesday, after pleading not guilty to a dangerous contact charge from the Storm’s win over the Sydney Roosters last Thursday.
The prop was charged for an incident involving the Roosters’ Matthew Ikuvalu in the 25th minute of the Storm’s 24-6 win.
St George Illawarra backrower Tyrell Fuimaono is also set to face the judiciary on Tuesday, challenging the grading of a charge for a shot on the Eels’ Junior Paulo in the Dragons’ 14-12 win last Friday.
Fuimaono has pleaded guilty to the grade-two charge but is seeking a downgrading in a bid to avoid a one-game ban.