|02-13-2007, 01:00 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Local Time: 01:42 AM
WTF? Craig Gower is biting people....
Panthers stand by embattled Gower__________________
By GREG PRICHARD - SMH | Tuesday, 13 February 2007
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AdvertisementPenrith Rugby League Club general manager Mick Leary last night admitted he was concerned about wildly conflicting stories from witnesses regarding the behaviour of Craig Gower in a Sydney bar early on Sunday, but said the club was sticking by its star player.
The latest controversy surrounding Gower unfolded yesterday, when a newspaper report carried allegations a drunken Gower had incited a brawl with another man at the Peppermint Lounge in Potts Point because Gower "tried to kiss him, then bit him on the neck".
The NRL has called for a report on the incident from Penrith and the club has begun compiling it, but unless someone makes a formal complaint of an assault to police it is unlikely action will be taken.
If a complaint were proven, Gower would be at risk of being kicked out of the game by the NRL.
Gower defended himself against the allegations yesterday, saying: "I didn't throw any punches, I got punches thrown at me, and I didn't get thrown out of the premises, I walked out. I think the story has just been blown way out of proportion."
The representative halfback was supported by his new coach, Matthew Elliott, who said he believed Gower was innocent and that the story would have no impact on whether he was appointed captain.
Gower, who trained with the team yesterday, was stripped of the captaincy by the club before last season after it was found he had behaved awfully - including groping the daughter of league legend Wayne Pearce - while at a charity golf event in December 2005.
The NRL's chief executive, David Gallop, said at the time Gower could not afford to behave so badly again.
The player was ordered by the club to participate in an intervention program for social responsibility and seek counselling on the responsible use of alcohol.
"We've had a whole lot of information volunteered to us by people who were at the venue to say that Craig didn't insult or assault anyone," Elliott said.
"Our information is that he was well-behaved. We also had someone go and look at the security camera footage. The camera can't tell you why he was hit, but it doesn't show him hitting anyone or biting anyone. None of that happened.
"If it was mid-season, I'd be really disappointed in him [for being out late and drinking], but he is allowed to take an opportunity to enjoy himself. I don't think there was any level of provocation to talk about from Craig."
Penrith released copies of an email yesterday from a person who identified himself as Joseph and said he was at the Peppermint Lounge and witnessed what had happened.
"A large man in his late 20s began punching into Craig Gower's face," the email read.
"Craig Gower stumbled backwards and received four or five punches before some other men intervened to break up the scuffle. Craig Gower did not throw punches in return. I did not see Craig Gower bite or kiss the man per the newspaper claim."
Yet the Sydney Morning Herald received an email from another witness who said: "Craig Gower was involved in starting two fights, the first picking on a much smaller 18-year-old man. The second fight included Gower biting a man on the neck." Last night's television news reports carried witnesses saying Gower was innocent, while a woman alleged he was responsible for starting three fights.
Asked whether he was concerned about the conflicting stories, Leary replied: "Yes." Asked whether he was supporting his player, Leary replied: "Yes. There seem to be a lot of conflicting stories on [channels] Seven and Ten, but Craig is denying the allegations. We have to forward a report to the NRL, so we are looking into it, but we are certainly backing Craig."
Penrith Panthers media manager Rob Weaver began looking into the allegations yesterday.
"We'll get to the bottom of it, but we won't be stampeded by people who want to force issues," he said. "Craig is adamant he didn't bite anyone or punch anyone. We have the security bloke who claims the reporter put words in his mouth.
"No one has made any complaint to police. Of course we back Craig."
Gower was fined $100,000 by Penrith, with $70,000 of it suspended, when he fronted the club's board on January 4 last year over the charity golf day drama. Penrith chairman Barry Walsh said the suspended fine had expired after 12 months.
Gallop said yesterday the league would wait to see Penrith's report before commenting further
Maybe he has been in the Panthers to long its starting to rub off on his day to day life
|02-13-2007, 05:35 AM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: a glass castle
Local Time: 12:42 PM
I cant even begin to bitch enough about league players. But I wont cause I know you love the game... God knows why! My sister and husband do too. Sad. All of ya's!
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