NORTH QUEENSLAND prop James Tamou believes the ARL Commission should introduce mandatory sentences for grub acts, such as biting and eye-gouging an opponent, to scare players out of daring to even consider resorting to such tactics.
Canterbury forward James Graham was suspended for 12 weeks on Thursday after the Englishman was found guilty of biting Melbourne fullback Billy Slater during the free-for-all in the grand final. Tamou, who was picked to play prop in his second Test for Australia against his native New Zealand, spoke on behalf of the majority of players when he described rugby league as too tough a sport for such behaviour.
''I don't like it,'' he said. ''I think it's dirty and obviously the people who run the game are trying to stamp it out. I think whoever does it should [now] realise they will sit on the sidelines for a long time and they will have a bad rep about them, too … and I guess that's deserved for what [Graham] did. A mandatory sentence should be imposed if a player does that kind of thing. Make it a long, long time so they'd know what to expect because I think that [fear of punishment] would help to stamp it out.''
Tamou, who became public enemy No.1 in New Zealand earlier this year when he pledged his allegiance to Australia, said he didn't expect any gutter-like tactics to be dealt out to him because he believed despite the media-driven hype about ''betrayal'' and ''treason'' a basic respect still existed.
''You get a bit of niggle,'' he said. ''But there's nothing too bad, and I think if something bad enough happened you would arc up about it, and I haven't seen too many people arc up in Test match footy. I think that shows nothing too bad has ever happened. I think it shows there is a respect there, 100 per cent. I think there is a feeling you respect that person for playing Test match footy. You don't want to do too much because of that respect but you need to also accept there'll always be nigglies out there.''
Tamou, who made his Origin debut for NSW this year, said he expected the Kiwi approach in the Townsville Test next Saturday would be to hone in on the Aussies with full-blooded - but fair - hits.
''They'll be trying to get shots on anyone with the ball, that's just typical New Zealand footy,'' he said. ''I'll be expecting a few to try and 'shot' me here 'n there but that just makes it more exciting. New Zealand is a passionate side and putting on that black jumper is motivation for them. Also, they don't want to come all the way to Townsville and lose - no one does - but they will be pumped right up.''
Paul Gallen has not spent too much time wondering what the Kiwis might try to do, but he suggested the nature of their team selections indicated Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney did not plan to unleash a traditional wrecking ball-style attack. ''When you look at their players, they've picked a team that can move the ball around a lot''
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