Leeds Rhinos: Brough makes biting allegation after Giants draw

Leeds' 'Zak Hardaker and Huddersfield's Jake Connor, centre, and Craig Huby.
Leeds' 'Zak Hardaker and Huddersfield's Jake Connor, centre, and Craig Huby.
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HUDDERSFIELD Giants captain Danny Brough has claimed one of his team-mates was bitten by a Leeds Rhinos player during the final moments of Thursday’s thrilling 24-24 draw.

Stand-off Brough was furious that no action was taken at the time, especially given his side could have kicked any resultant penalty to win the tight match.

Huddersfield had battled back from 22-6 down against the Super League leaders to go 24-22 ahead before the absorbing West Yorkshire derby was levelled in the 78th minute.

Asked if he felt it was a point lost or gained, Brough told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was a point lost. With 30 seconds to go we had a man at marker and he got bit on his hand.

“I don’t know how you don’t get a penalty for that in this day and age.

“There’s teeth marks in his hand and the lad that did it apologised after the game.

“I’m not mentioning any names, but for the ref not to take a keen interest in that I think there is a bit wrong in the game.”

The Scotland star would not name the individuals in the alleged incident but the YEP understands England centre Kallum Watkins was the Leeds player involved as Huddersfield youngster Jake Connor tackled him just 10m in front of the Rhinos’ posts.

Television footage is not clear and, in fairness to referee Richard Silverwood, neither the Giants centre or any player remonstrated with the officials.

There was no formal complaint after the match but, ironically, Connor could come under investigation himself.

He tackled Zak Hardaker in the next play and images show him appearing to throw his face forward into the England full-back’s shoulder, prompting the visibly incensed Leeds player to lash out at the 20-year-old.

A number of Leeds fans took to social media to claim Connor actually bit Hardaker in that incident, though Giants’ head coach Paul Anderson seemed unaware of any potential foul play from his man in the post-match press conference.

“We should have had a penalty under the sticks towards the end,” he said.

“It’s all right to punch people in the mouth, so we’ll do that next week.”

The RFL’s match review panel will meet on Tuesday morning to watch all of this round’s games and decide whether any charges are to be brought ahead of the disciplinary panel sitting.

A Leeds spokesman said: “A Leeds spokesman said: “We have not been made aware of any incidents in the game from the RFL.

“As always, we will wait to see if anything is brought forward by the Match Review Panel.”

Biting is viewed as one of the most heinous fouls in the sport and can carry a suspension of up to eight games.

Two Super League players were banned for the offence in 2011.

Second-row Elliott Whitehead, then playing for Bradford Bulls, earned five games for biting Hull KR’s Jordan Cox and Harlequins centre David Howell was given a six match suspension for doing the same to Catalans scrum-half Remy Marginet.

Of course, the most infamous case was Canterbury Bulldogs and England prop James Graham who was banned for a dozen games after biting Australia full-back Billy Slater during his side’s 2012 NRL Grand Final loss to Melbourne Storm.

Admittedly, the punishments are far more severe in the Australian game but, regardless, the sport’s authorities here do not take kindly to such illegal play.

Whatever the outcome of any potential investigation, it will make the Challenge Cup sixth-round tie between the two rivals in a fortnight – at Headingley rather than John Smith’s Stadium – all the more intoxicating.

Fourth-placed Huddersfield remain eight points adrift of frontrunners Leeds in Super League.

However, they have now gone three games unbeaten and there were signs of further revival with that second-half performance against the Rhinos.

Brough, 32, said: “We’ve had a struggle with our execution and actually catching the ball recently.

“We had that in the first half – dropping passes – and Leeds capitalised.

“But there was a bit of quality in the second to keep getting drop-outs and we scored a few good tries to get a point.

“After a dismal first 40 minutes, you could say that was a fair result.”

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