Canterbury Bulldogs’ future hangs in balance
CANTERBURY'S premiership hopes are in the hands of the NRL judiciary as the fallout from the club's ugly on-field attack on match officials during the defeat to the Rabbitohs continued.
Captain James Graham and young representative forward David Klemmer face extended stints of the sidelines for abusing referees, while Bulldogs hookers Michael Lichaa could join them after he too was charged by the NRL's match review committee with contrary conduct.
Bulldogs players littered the NRL's charge sheet following their clash with South Sydney which ended in uproar after the Rabbits were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that snatched a one-point win.
The behaviour of Graham, whose charge-down tackle resulted in Adam Reynolds suffering a long-term leg injury, led to the penalty.
As the match officials headed from the field they were pelted by bottles and other missiles by a small section of the crowd.
Bulldogs officials are trying to identity the culprits using security video and have promised they will be banned for life.
Graham, who launched into a verbal tirade against referee Gerard Sutton, is facing one to two weeks on the sidelines over his attempted charge down on Reynolds. He and Klemmer, who abused Sutton before being sent to the sin bin face a further two to three weeks' suspension after both were hit with contrary conduct charges following the post-penalty outburst.
Adding to coach Des Hasler's woes is giant forward Sam Kasiano, looking at two to three weeks after being hit with a dangerous contact charge with Issac Luke's head or neck.
The Bulldogs premiership hopes would go down the drain if both Graham and Klemmer are stood down for extended periods.
Meanwhile, South Sydney, which has already lost Reynolds for most of the season, could also lose key forward George Burgess for one match after he was slugged with a dangerous contact charge for an incident involving Canterbury forward Josh Jackson.
Roosters pair Aidan Guerra and Michael Jennings were charged following their upset loss to Cronulla on Sunday but Guerra, who copped a grade one dangerous throw charge on Chris Heighington will miss several weeks anyway with a broken jaw.
Jennings will not miss a game if he pleads guilty to a high tackle on Luke Lewis.
Canberra winger Jordan Rapana will also be available for selection this week with an early guilty plea to a grade-one high tackle on Jamie Buhrer.