BILLY Slater does not need to give evidence at Thursday night's judiciary hearing because the biting case against Bulldogs prop James Graham is considered so compelling that he is tipped to receive one of the longest bans in NRL history.
A distraught Graham is expected to plead guilty to the ungraded contrary conduct charge after being referred directly to the tribunal to answer allegations by Slater that the England star bit his ear in the 26th minute of Sunday's grand final.
By not grading the charge, the match review committee has indicated that the incident was worse than a grade-five offence, which would have seen Graham facing a seven-match ban. There are suggestions the suspension could "go down in the annals of history as one of the longest ever".
Former Canterbury forward Brad Morrin received an eight-match suspension in 2007 for biting Parramatta centre Timana Tahu on the arm, but the fact Graham is accused of chomping at Slater's ear Mike Tyson style is considered worse. Also likely to count against him is that the incident occurred on grand final day and was seen by a television audience in Australia and New Zealand of 4,421,600, including 803,000 in Melbourne.
Slater did not want to comment on the incident at Sydney Airport yesterday and it is understood he will not testify at the hearing, which has been moved back 24 hours to accommodate the Bulldogs presentation night tomorrow.
Melbourne officials are expected to provide a statement on Slater's behalf that will be submitted as evidence.
Most biting or gouging cases rely on the testimony of the victim as it is usually his word against the accused player, but the match review committee announced Graham and three other players had been charged from the grand final at 11.29am yesterday.
The other players charged were Melbourne pair Sisa Waqa and Todd Lowrie, who both face one-match bans, and Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds, who can escape suspension with a guilty plea.
All were charged for their part in the wild melee after Canterbury centre Krisnan Inu took exception to Slater running into winger Sam Perrett as he crossed for the Bulldogs' only try in the 26th minute.
As the pushing and shoving spilled over the sideline, the players were surrounded by cameras and some found themselves pushed up against the fence.
It has been suggested that Graham, whose judiciary record in Super League before joining Canterbury this season included only minor offences, got caught up in the moment and did something those who know him say was totally out of character.
With the incident clearly captured on video, Graham is expected to plead guilty and throw himself on the mercy of the judiciary panel.
Bulldogs insiders have told the Herald he cut a lonely figure at the club's post-match function on Sunday night and he appeared to do so at yesterday's Mad Monday celebrations, which he attended as The Simpsons character Duffman - the mascot for Duff Beer.
It has also been suggested that Graham may have reacted to the crowd as the fight erupted in front of a particularly vocal section of Bulldogs supporters at ANZ Stadium.
Graham's likely ban could cost him the England captaincy for upcoming Tests against Wales and France and it is yet to be determined if those matches will count as part of his suspension.