Star player inserting his finger into the rectum of opponent did it for “a bit of fun”

Clubs like Wigan Warriors, Leigh Leopards, Warrington Wolves all the way down to clubs outside the top six like Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC are fighting to keep their title hopes alive and that is the case in the NRL too with clubs vying to dethrone Penrith Panthers with some believing Brisbane Broncos could end a 17 year wait for the trophy.

Their chances of doing so were increased with Penrith Panthers lost to rivals Parramatta Eels this week in a game that cost them Jarome Luai.

The game was also touched with controversy with Soni Luke appearing to insert his finger into the rectum of an opponent.

The Daily Mail has said that Luke has apologised for the incident and now a Panthers official said the incident was a bit of fun between two good mates that went too far, however senior management had spoken to Luke and he has since apologised for his actions.

An NRL spokesman said: ‘The Match Review Committee has today issued the Panthers with a concerning act notice following the actions of Soni Luke.’

No further action is expected to be taken.

This comes as controversy unravels with disciplinary over here with Jorge Taufua’s ban for biting upheld by the RFL.

This led to the following statement from Bradford Bulls CEO Jason Hirst:

“The Bradford Bulls are bitterly disappointed, dismayed and shocked at the outcome of the Jorge Taufua disciplinary hearing and subsequent appeal.

Jorge has played approaching 200 matches of elite Rugby League in both the southern and northern hemispheres and has never previously been sent off. More importantly, he is a first class human being and this decision now represents a serious stain on his character and a thoroughly respectful and honest career.

Both Jorge and the club recognise and appreciate the seriousness of the accusation and the reputational damage it causes our great sport. Given that seriousness, we are of the view the burden of proof needs to be unequivocal and not simply on the balance of probabilities. Frankly, in our view, it is unacceptable to be staining the reputation of anyone like this, simply based upon “the balance of probabilities”, which is a very low evidential bar to reach.

To be clear, we have not been presented with or seen any unequivocal evidence of Jorge biting anyone. There was no movement towards anyone’s arm and no deliberate biting action from Jorge. What we have seen is an opposition player’s forearm across Jorge’s face and mouth, which is of course contrary to the rules of the sport. That action went unpunished. Put simply, Jorge has been banned on the word of others.

We are not condoning foul play; we are not condoning appropriate punishment where guilt is clearly and demonstrably proven. We are gravely concerned that where substantial career threatening sanctions are imposed, the evidential burden needs to be greater than the “balance of probabilities”.

Regardless of all that, we now have to “accept” the 6 match ban imposed.

Despite our ultimate unsuccessful attempts to have the ban overturned, we would do the same again, given the same circumstances, as despite the cost incurred, it’s morally important to our club and our fans that we stand by and represent our own where we feel there has been a miscarriage of justice, such as this. We are, therefore, proud of our defence of Jorge, who we continue to support and who, in our opinion, is innocent of the charges brought.

To be clear, we are raising what we believe to be a serious procedural concern that extends beyond this one individual case. We would, therefore, urge the RFL to review its current procedures in cases such as this and we would be happy to contribute to that process review, if invited.

The ban is undoubtedly a huge blow to both Jorge and the club, but we will use it to further galvanise our team and club, as we target the end of season play-offs. Reaching them would mean Jorge could (if selected) still feature in 1-3 matches for the Bradford Bulls this season.

I urge our loyal fan base to continue to noisily back the club, team, it’s players and particularly Jorge. It’s in times of adversity when we learn about ourselves and others and really need to unite as one, which I’m sure we’ll do.

The club will now draw a line under this topic, with no further public comment, as we strive to finish the season successfully.