Todd Greenberg and James Graham after this week’s hearing. Party boys … the club’s Mad Monday “superhero” event.
BULLDOGS boss Todd Greenberg has revealed there are no plans to scrap Mad Mondays despite the fallout from the team’s latest grand final celebrations.
Canterbury remain in damage control following a horror week which included losing the grand final, the James Graham biting saga, the abuse of a female television journalist and incendiary comments made by club sponsor Gary Johnston.
In an extensive interview with The Sun-Herald, Greenberg opened up on:
❏ His plans to retain Mad Monday;
❏ The club’s controversial decision to defend Graham’s biting charge before the NRL judiciary;
❏ Why the biting drama will not affect negotiations to extend Graham’s contract beyond 2014;
❏ His rubbishing of reports Graham had previously bitten opponents;
❏ His belief that Camp Quality would not walk out on the club.
The developments come as Canterbury coach Des Hasler reaffirmed the club’s support of Graham, who was suspended for 12 weeks for the incident involving Billy Slater.
”We believe the boy,” Hasler said yesterday. ”We firmly believe he didn’t bite him. We’re disappointed with the outcome but we got a fair hearing.”
The Bulldogs have been savaged for their decision to defend the matter at the NRL judiciary, given the English captain could have received a 25 per cent discount on the sentence with an early guilty plea.
Greenberg said he had no regrets.
”Absolutely none whatsoever,” he said. ”James maintained his innocence from the moment he stepped off the field on grand final day. We all know how bad the pictures looked, we know how damaging the pictures looked, but we stood side by side with James because he told us he didn’t do it. We wanted to make sure we supported him at every opportunity.
”As you would expect, he is shattered. He’s missing an opportunity to captain his country and he’ll miss the start of next season with us. We could have taken the easy option by pleading guilty, asking for remorse based on his good record. That’s not the angle we took because we … tried to go in and represent what he told us was the truth. Even though he’s been given a harsher sentence, we’re still comfortable with the fact that he maintained his innocence throughout and continues to do so.”
Although Graham is contracted to end of 2014, Greenberg last week indicated he was so impressed with the Super League recruit the Bulldogs were already negotiating to extend his stay. The events of the last week have not affected their opinion of him.
”He’s highly respected inside and outside the club. Nothing has changed our views on that,” Greenberg said.
A report aired on the Seven Network news on Friday night suggesting Graham had bitten Manly co-captain Jason King on the shoulder earlier in the finals series. However, King has told those close to him there was nothing untoward in the tackle and Greenberg described the suggestion as ”ludicrous”.
”That footage was used as part of our defence, along with footage of him with Sam Burgess against South Sydney to highlight how James deals with confrontation,” he said. ”He gets his head close in to the opposing player. To suggest there is any more in that incident with Jason King is ludicrous, to say the least.”
The standard NRL contract allows clubs to dock players a percentage of their income if they are suspended for prolonged periods. However, Greenberg said that is not a consideration in this instance.
The Bulldogs are still reviewing CCTV footage and finalising their report into the identity of those who made lewd comments to a female reporter during Mad Monday. The dramas sparked fresh debate into the merits of the end-of-season tradition, although Greenberg ruled out banning the practice.
”No, I don’t think so,” he said. ”But I think we can do things better as a club and as a game and we will review it again. We thought we had a pretty good plan this year but obviously it didn’t work. We’ll have to go back and review it again. There’s no doubt we can learn from the experience. We’re certainly not perfect and don’t profess to be perfect. We got some things wrong, there’s no doubt about that. We were upfront with an apology to the journalist and we’re doing a thorough investigation on it, which will be completed next week.”
Camp Quality chief Simon Rountree said he would wait until the matter was resolved before deciding whether the association with Canterbury would continue.
Greenberg, who has been in daily contact with Rountree, is confident the relationship will continue.
”It’s not a concern,” he said. ”We have a partnership and in any partnership there are ups and downs.
”But Camp Quality have been one of our biggest supporters over the last four years and we’ll keep them abreast of all the information we have. I’m sure they will continue to support the club, like we’ve continued to support them.”
Greenberg hoped the dramas would not overshadow a successful season on and off the field.
”It has been a difficult week for the Bulldogs but I would like to think the majority of people would judge the 2012 season on the entire 12 months, not on the events of the last week,” Greenberg said. ”We’ve achieved a significant amount in 2012 and it’s set up a great platform for the 2013 campaign.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.