A New Zealand Warriors Under20s player has been banned for three games by an NRL judiciary panel, after being found guilty of spitting blood at an opponent.
James Bell was hit with the charge after spitting during the Warriors’ 40-34 loss to Newcastle Knights last weekend. Peter Kite, who was on the judicial counsel, decided that Bell’s actions were deliberate and actually recommended that Bell be suspended for between six and eight weeks.
However, a disciplinary panel determined he should only miss three weeks of action – meaning his season is over unless the junior Warriors make the play-offs. Despite that though, Warriors GM Dean Bell said the club were disappointed with the result of the tribunal.
“While we were given a good hearing we’re disappointed with the outcome,” he said following the hearing.
“James has been a model NYC player for us and he’ll learn from this. We just hope the Vodafone Junior Warriors make the finals now so he has a chance to play again this season.”
The young forward said he did not mean to hit the Knights player Joseph Boyce.
“I had no intention of hitting him. It’s the last thing I’d do in a footy game,” said Bell at the hearing. “It was a complete accident. I was real sincere (apologising on the field) because it’s disgusting getting spit on you.”