Kevin Proctor has spoken out to defend his alleged biting attack on Shaun Johnson which saw the Titans star sent off in a moment of boiling controversy.
Proctor on Saturday was marched from the field after Cronulla’s Johnson complained to the on-field umpires about the moment Proctor’s mouth opened while Johnson’s forearm wrapped across his lips.
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The heated moment was captured by TV cameras and the footage was enough for the NRL bunker to advise on-field referee Henry Perenara to give Proctor his career-first send-off.
The NRL announced on Sunday morning the match review committee has sent Proctor straight to a judiciary hearing which is yet to be scheduled.
Wild speculation suggested Proctor is facing a ban of between three and 12 weeks for the alleged incident — but the former Storm star on Sunday spoke out to insist he never actually bit Johnson’s arm.
Proctor told The Courier-Mail he is “pissed off” that the on-field referees made such a contentious decision on the run.
“I will be telling the NRL judiciary I didn’t bite Shaun Johnson,” Proctor said.
“My record in this game speaks for itself.
“I didn’t bite him, I am 100 per cent on that.
“I will fight to the death to clear my name.
“Rugby league has been going on for 112 years and no-one has ever been sent off for alleged biting.
“I’m so pissed off about this.
“To be accused of biting someone is the lowest thing you can face as a footballer.”
He said when first called over by Perenara after the alleged biting incident that he actually believed he was going to be awarded the penalty for high contact.
“It was a weird situation. I felt like I was being choked. I could feel my mouth being forced open and the pressure on my throat was getting tighter and tighter. I was finding it harder to breathe,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe I would get sent off. I actually thought I was going to get the penalty for ‘Shauny’ putting his forearm around my throat and face.
“I don’t want to be portrayed as a biter because no player in the NRL wants to be seen as a dirty player like that.
“I’m devastated because my 250th game will be remembered for me being sent off for biting someone. That dampens my achievement forever, it’s a sour ending to a milestone game.”
At 12-all with 25 minutes remaining, it was anyone’s game before Titans captain Proctor was sent off.
The commentators were baffled by the commotion until it was clear a bite had taken place.
“You were choking me, you were choking me, who’s the f***ing sook,” Proctor said clearly on microphone as the New Zealand pair jawed at each other with the Sharks.
Johnson then showed teammates and trainers his arm with Perenara trying to clarify “so there’s a definite bite?”
He immediately floated the send off with evidence from the bunker.
Perenara said “we’ve got vision of a bite so you’re off.”
Rugby league legend Mal Meninga however came up with a defence for Proctor, saying the player was simply fighting for his life.
“All of a sudden Kevin felt he was in danger of being choked, so loss of air, you know, the forearm’s around his chin and up near his nose as well so he obviously felt that his life was in danger as well,” Meninga told Fox League.
“So that’s a fair argument to have to actually try to get Shaun’s arm away from his face as well in that situation so the words may help Kevin in his plight to get off the charge.
“It’s not in his character, he’s not that type of person to actually go out with intent and do things like that we’ll see what happen.
“I think the words will (help him) obviously his life felt threatened, he was choking so he felt that he needed to do something to get Shaun’s arm away to survive.
“He won’t get 12 weeks for that, in my opinion … but if he does go guilty he’ll miss the rest of the year.”
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