Brisbane Broncos' Sam Thaiday guilty of Jesse Bromwich thumb-pull
Sam Thaiday maintains he has never attempted to injure a rival player, despite being found guilty of contrary conduct at the NRL judiciary.
Thaiday has been fined A$2100 (NZ$2300), but won't miss any matches, after pulling the thumb of Melbourne forward Jesse Bromwich in the 65th minute of Brisbane's 14-12 loss last Thursday night to the the Storm.
Bromwich had been returning from a compound dislocation of the thumb, and the NRL's counsel Peter McGrath argued that Thaiday "had crossed the line into unsportsmanship".
But Thaiday maintained on Tuesday night that he had never gone onto a football field with any malice or intent to cause injury.
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"I've been playing this game for 15 years now and I just want to make it clear that I've never gone out with any intent to hurt any player intentionally," Thaiday said after the hearing.
"I'll continue to play rugby league as hard and with as much passion as I can for the next two years."
Inside, Thaiday had argued he was not aware of Bromwich's pre-existing injury, and was merely doing whatever he could to stop a try and then slow the play-the- ball down.
He also said he thought play was continuing, and that Bromwich remained a chance of scoring a try at the time.
"If I can't stop the ball, I have to grab the hand," he told the three-man panel.
However, the NRL counsel disagreed, arguing Thaiday had held onto the thumb for "two to three seconds", and "for the purpose of causing (Bromwich) some discomfort".
The hearing lasted 75 minutes, but it took the panel - comprising Thaiday's former Queensland State of Origin teammate Dallas Johnson, Mal Cochrane and Tony Puletua - just 15 minutes to decide he had acted against the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play.
Earlier, judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew had also reminded the panel that Thaiday's efforts to defend his line did not justify the actions.
"The fact the player is trying to defend his line doesn't give him open slather to play outside the rules," Bellew said.
Thaiday would have been fined A$1500 (NZ$1600) if he had not contested the charge. The outcome will ultimately only lead to a suspension if he has two other grade-one contrary conduct guilty verdicts this year.