WESTERN Suburbs will be without senior forward Todd Hurrell for the next seven matches after he pleaded guilty to biting Lakes United back-rower Dane Cordner.
Hurrell fronted the Newcastle Rugby League judiciary on Wednesday night and was given a 10-match ban, which was reduced to seven due to his otherwise unblemished record.
The incident took place in the late stages of the Rosellas’ 44-10 victory over the Seagulls at Cahill Oval on Saturday evening.
Hurrell was in possession of the ball at the bottom of a ruck when he bit the forearm of Cordner.
His action sparked an aggressive response from Cordner and a brawl erupted.
Cordner and Wests winger Ryan Pywell were sent off by referee Ashley Irvine for fighting, and Hurrell was placed on report after Cordner complained of being bitten.
Cordner, a former Knights and Roosters under-20s recruit, was given a one-match suspension for fighting and Pywell will serve a two-game penalty for being the third man in.
Wests coach Craig Miller said he was satisfied with the punishment to Hurrell.
‘‘It’s a hard one to defend, but it’s certainly out of character and it’s something he’s going to have to live with,’’ Miller said.
‘‘He’s let his teammates, himself and his club down.
‘‘He’s very remorseful and the only explanation he gave was he was in a predicament where he was on the bottom of a gang tackle with a forearm stuck in his face getting a massage and he panicked.’’
Lakes secretary Tom Sheppard said he was surprised Hurrell was involved in biting.
‘‘It was pretty out of character for Todd, there was nothing in the tackle,’’ Sheppard said.
‘‘If there was a penalty in the tackle for something illegal, you could say there was something there, but there was no penalty, so it was just one of those things.’’
Hurrell will be free to return in round 11 when the Rosellas will host Lakes at Harker Oval.
For Sunday’s home match against Wyong the Rosellas will finally welcome back centre Steve Gordon from an 11-match ban for abusing referee Tom Aylett last July.
On top of the loss of Hurrell and Pywell to suspension, Miller is sweating on the fitness of fullback Joel Penny and winger Justin Smith, who both injured their ankle against the Seagulls.