JAMES Graham has come home from Australia to escape from the goldfish bowl of recent events, which led to him suffering a 12-match after being found guilty of biting an opponent in the Australian RL showpiece of the season, still insisting: “I’m innocent of the charge.”
The ex-Saints prop (pictured), who has returned to the relative peace and tranquility of his Maghull home, is adamant he didn’t bite the ear of Melbourne Storm full-back Billy Slater during the NRL Grand Final.
Graham, in his first season Down Under with Canterbury Bulldogs, told the Australian media: “At no stage did I have the thought of biting his ear, or any part of his body.
“I’ve played more than 250 first-grade matches since I was seven and I have never bitten anyone one.
“I can’t understand why I would chose an NRL Grand Final to do it. If I did, you would see teeth marks. I can’t see any bite marks in the photos.
“I consider myself an honest player – I didn’t bite him intentionally or by accident.”
Stunned by the verdict, Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg revealed: “James came to see both me and coach Des Hasler to protest his innocence.
“That’s why we didn’t take an early guilty plea, and that’s why we didn’t ask for leniency. We simply came here and spoke the truth.”
Medical evidence also showed there were no signs of the usual pattern of damage following ear-biting, while former Saints coach Daniel Anderson was called as a character witness on behalf of his former player.
But it took the judiciary only 10 minutes to reach their verdict.