MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian rugby league player has been banned for eight matches after being accused of biting an opponent’s penis during a tackle in a local league game.
Anthony Watts, a former player in Australia’s top-flight National Rugby League, was charged following a video review of the Gold Coast match last week.
Footage of the match posted on Youtube showed the 26-year-old Tugun Seahawks utility pulled down in a tackle near the tryline and subsequently involved in a melee by remonstrating players for the opposing Bilambil Jets team.
The video later showed one of the Jets players pulling down his shorts in front of the referee.
“After the judiciary panel reviewed footage as well as reports from medical staff and match officials, it found Watts guilty of Contrary Conduct,” Gold Coast Rugby League said in a statement on Wednesday.
“He has been suspended from playing until the completion of the eighth round of the 2014 season.”
A Gold Coast Rugby League official told Reuters Watts had said he intended to appeal the charge, but was yet to file the necessary paperwork.
Watts, who was dumped by NRL team Sydney Roosters in 2011 for disciplinary problems, was sentenced to community service in June for being involved in a brawl between rival motorcycle gangs in the Gold Coast.
That followed a conviction on a weapons possession charge by a New South Wales court two weeks earlier after he was found carrying knuckle-dusters.
Australian football players have been punished for a number of unsavoury on-field incidents.
Peter Filandia, a former top-flight Australian Rules player, was banned for 10 games for biting an opponent’s testicles during a minor league match in 2002.
Former NRL player John Hopoate, who represented Australia in rugby league, was banned in 2001 and sacked by his club Wests Tigers for inserting his fingers into opposing players’ anuses.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney