[poll] Alternate View on Dunley

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Journey Man
Blood, spit and tears:

Think back to the opening round of this years NRL competition. Do you remember Warriors player Nathan Fien with blood soaked bandages encircling his head packing into a scrum against Manly. Can you remember the Manly front row baulking at coming into contact with this monstrosity?

The Manly captain was pleading with the referee to evict the wounded player from play so that the danger of infection to his players was minimised. Do you remember how much the referee did about it?

Who was the player that had to have blood tests in the following week to ascertain whether hed contracted a potentially fatal disease? For the last three months Shane Dunley has had to wait on tenterhooks for his results, his life potentially hanging by a thread because of a referees inaction.

Shane Dunley is in the news this week for a very different reason - a grade five contrary conduct charge for allegedly spitting on Parramatta player Marsh.

The contrary conduct charge is largely enacted when it is perceived that the game has been bought into disrepute. How many mothers of small boys yanked their kids out of junior competitions after the grisly spectacle of a blood smeared ghoul parading around a field in Round One? Did Sean Hampstead face a charge of contrary conduct because his inability to be decisive bought the game into disrepute and risked the lives of players?

Our civilisation is founded upon a legal system that enshrines the judicial principle of innocent until proven guilty. Dunley fronts the judiciary guilty until proven innocent. The evidence looks as though it could be inconclusive or, at worst, open to interpretation and subjectivity. No doubt Dunley spits but the cameras dont seem to show if theres a point of contact with Marsh.

In a court of law it would be up to the judiciary to show that the spit was directed at the player and/or that it actually hit Marsh. Dunley walks into the judiciary needing to change their already formed opinion that the spit was directed at the player and/or that it hit Marsh. This situation is magnified by the added penalty that contesting the charge and failing means an additional two week sentence.

Lets put the incident in its correct context. Dunley sat on the sideline for the first twenty minutes of a high stakes game, heart rate elevated and adrenalin coursing through his veins. He takes the field in a spiteful encounter where opposing players are taunting and needling his own team mates. The official NRL pre-match program has built up the Parramatta versus Manly rivalry on the field all week and the players are caught up in the drama.

He spends the next 15 minutes running around at a hectic pace. I highlight this because I want to freeze in on the moment of the expectoration. Dunley is wearing a mouthguard and is no doubt de-hydrated. No doubt that Dunleys mouth would be dry, his mouthguard like a log in his mouth and his saliva like glue.

Without labouring the point, you can see from the repeated slow motion replays of the incident that the spit virtually drops from Dunleys mouth and strings of saliva suspend it in mid-air for a millisecond.

There are two points that need to be made:

1. I contend that NRL players would know what the roof of their mouth feels like in the 37th minute of an NRL game and would probably have some sympathy for Dunleys need to spit to refresh his mouth, and would also recognise that the gummy saliva could lead to a certain lack of control.

2. There is a heated atmosphere on the field and in this climate players can tend to walk a fine line. Dunley may well have spat near Marsh to unsettle him just as Mark Riddell was on a mission to unsettle Michael Witt.

The issue is did Dunley deliberately spit ON Marsh and can this be proven beyond reasonable doubt? The judiciary says yes, unless compelling evidence to the contrary can be produced. In a court of law one wonders whether the prosecutor would be able to make the charge stick, especially given some of the context mentioned above. Somehow I think its unlikely on the evidence that Ive seen.

Therefore, are the judicial proceedings little more than a kangaroo court for an organisation that is a master of the double standard, with Dunley a particularly compelling victim?


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
nice one, but i wouldnt enter this in your forums 7 comp!
would like to believe it BUT him and johnsy are very good buddies.why would johns use words like "sorry" and "brain explosion" in his description of shane's post match thoughts on national tv 2 days later.doesnt add up and seems too coincidental in tht it followed an extremely aggressive tackle.hate to see an eagle charged with this but he should have copped the 3.they will give him 5 and i cant argue.


Journey Man
5 weeks for what? FFS we have Dragons and Bulldogs (again) running around beating up innocent bystanders for $5000 fines and Dunley gets put in the clink for 5 weeks?

This is only a story becuase some producer picked it up on tele and ran with it.


Journey Man
nice one, but i wouldnt enter this in your forums 7 comp!
747 words - in it goes. I've given up any ambition in that comp so I might as well bang them over the head with it.


I agree very much so with point one. I don't know exactly where Dunley got him (if at all) but I don't think he was intentionally spitting at him- more of a case of needing to clear his gob and, in the heat of the battle, he didn't really think through where he was spitting.
if he did it-and opinions will differ and we may never know- it is a low and disgraceful act and is generally rated with gouging as the most cowardly and insulting action that can be taken by a sportsmen.he is very lucky he did not cop a flogging.

please note that my comments are based on the premise that he DID IT.if he did not( and i hope he didnt) then the above does not apply.


Journey Man
Maybe it's just where I live. But it's fairly common practice for the kids around here especially to empty their gobs every five minutes as they walk along.

Gouging is a far greater offence IMO as it involves physical damage to someone. Think about it, would you rather be gouged or spat on?

Would you rather be spat on or bled all over?


Journey Man
Spitting on someone is very cowardly - but i dont think he did it on purpose - to me it looked like he wasnt even looking where he spat.


Journey Man
No doubt it is cowardly (though some might also see it as inflammatory) but it's a long way short of gouging. 5 weeks is ridiculous!

do you seriously think anyone is really worried about the physical consequence of dunley spitting at marsh.that is ridiculous.the reality is the charge is "contrary conduct" because the act of spitting at someone is universally and rightly regarded in australian culture as totally insulting and degrading and not part of our sporting ethos.

i played in an under 18s game at logan in brisbane years ago.one of our guys got up and blatantly spat in the face of the opposing second rower in front of both packs after a tough but legal tackle.he was unceremoniously flogged by this bloke and not one of our side had any desire to help him one iota-and believe me a few of our boys were not shrinking violets.he received a similar reception from the coach.thats how things are and always will be and i hope it stays that way.

and i am not saying shane did it.dont know and never will..but i do know what my reaction would be if someone spat in my face.


Journey Man
I dare say our reaction would be the same sue.

However, the thrust of the article is exactly as you say - we will never know if it was intended or not. But in the NRL judiciary that is a death sentence for Dunley. In a court of law it would be a pardon.

You're the lawyer, correct me if I'm wrong.

Secondly, your team mate would have copped a right royal flogging for gouging too.
agreed on all counts.on tv evidence i dont think you could say he definitely did it.but mathew johns comments on sunday have still not been addressed which worries me a little.


Unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Dunley did it intentionally I just don't think it would be fair to say he was guilty.
I agree with Sue that it would be a low act if he did it intentionally and he would have disgraced the Eagles if that is the case-BUT if he didn't you are basically crucifying someone for doing something players do every game and that's clear their throat.


Journey Man
If Johns' comments come inot the process I'll be astounded. Trial by media?????

The judiciary need to look at the facts. UI thought we have ex-players on the judiciary because they understand how it is to play the game.
Well if they had any sense they'd throw this out as the complete media beat-up that it is. The NRL is wasting the panel members' time.

i dont expect the judiciary to take the comments into account and im sure they wont.i simply meant it worried me when one of his best mates was apologising for him 2 days later on national tv based on their post match discussions and using terms like" brain explosion".spitting on the ground to clear your throat is not a brain explosion.

having said that on the actual video evidence there is enough doubt to give him the benefit of the doubt and im definitely willing to give him that.

just heard he got 4 weeks.i think shanes attack will be sorely missed.major loss IMO.

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