Graham facing lengthy ban

PA Sport
England Forward James Graham could miss the autumn internationals if banned

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England Forward James Graham could miss the autumn internationals if banned

England forward James Graham could be facing a two-month ban if he is found guilty of biting the ear of an opponent.

The former St Helens captain was put on report for his part in a fracas during Sunday's NRL Grand Final in which his Canterbury Bulldogs side lost 14-4 to the Melbourne Storm in front of an 82,976 crowd in Sydney.

Melbourne full-back Billy Slater complained to referee Tony Archer that his ear had been bitten and close-up television replays appeared to provide damning evidence against Graham, who will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of Monday's match review committee meeting.

Graham, who is in his first season in the NRL, is due to link up with England for their training camp in South Africa next week but, if he is found guilty and suspended, he could miss the autumn internationals against France and Wales.

Slater offered a "no comment" when asked about it in the Storm dressing room after the match, while Graham was kept well off limits by Dogs officials.

Earlier, in the post-match press conference, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said: "It's an incident that happened in the game and it will be sorted out tomorrow or the next day or the next day. It doesn't concern us. We've just won a premiership. What happened in the game, it's done now."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith adopted a similar line, saying: "Bill came to me and said he felt that he was bitten. But that's out of our hands, it's gone. We've won the match so it's no use looking back on that. The match review committee will look at that and deal with it."

Canterbury coach Des Hasler was unwilling to expand on the Graham furore, saying: "He's on report so we'll have to wait and see and I won't make any more comment on it other than we'll deal with it when it comes up."

The allegation threatens to compound the misery of Graham, who has made a big impression in his first season in the NRL but has now lost six consecutive Grand Finals after being a member of the St Helens team beaten at Old Trafford in five successive seasons.

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