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Wests Tigers captain James Tamou gets downgrade, but coy about future


Tamou’s lawyer Nick Ghabar argued the potty-mouthed attack was no worse than Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ colourful choice words for Gerard Sutton back in round 11. Waerea-Hargreaves was fined for that incident.

NRL lawyer Lachlan Gyles said any downgrade would send the wrong message to young players and “undermined the authority of referees”.

The two-man panel of Michael Hagan and Bob Lindner took nearly an hour to downgrade the charge.

Tamou said when shown the footage of him and Cummins: “I’m embarrassed and appalled by my behaviour.

“I can’t watch it. I’m coaching kids and how do I explain that behaviour to them? How do they look up to someone like me when they see that on TV?

“I’ve played 300 games and I’ve never spoken that way to a referee.”

Tigers skipper Tamou was first warned by Cummins at the Sydney Cricket Ground not to back-chat after just three minutes when he complained about the Roosters getting their hands in the play-the-ball.

“Embarrassed and appalled”: Wests Tigers skipper James Tamou.

“Embarrassed and appalled”: Wests Tigers skipper James Tamou.Credit:Getty

He lost his cool in the 78th minute when penalised for dissent, with Tigers teammate Joe Ofahengaue comically asking Cummins: “Can we challenge the backchat?”

“The score in the game really affected where my emotions were at that point,” Tamou said.

“I was hot headed and feeling like nothing was going our way … it was completely out of character.”

Ghabar said with the Waerea-Hargreaves case, the Roosters prop had suggested Sutton showed bias, spoke to him in an intimidating manner, and his comments were “calculated”. This was compared to Tamou who never questioned Cummins’ integrity, and whose outburst was “spur of the moment”.

Gyles said Tamou was “not exactly a young bloke starting out in the game” and should have known better. Gyles said Tamou needed to “be disciplined in that situation to accept the rub of the green and allow the referee to get on with his job.”

Tamou, who remains off contract beyond this year, was supported by wife Brittney and Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe.

Adam Doueihi will now skipper the Tigers on Sunday against St George Illawarra as they try to palm the wooden spoon to fellow strugglers the Gold Coast.

Melbourne’s Brandon Smith was refereed straight to the judiciary for calling Adam Gee a “cheating bastard” and was suspended three matches.

Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.



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