The Wests Tigers have confirmed that veteran prop James Tamou will front the NRL judiciary in hopes of getting his Grade Three contrary conduct charge downgraded so that he might be able to play a farewell game at Leichhardt Oval.
Tamou was sent off in the closing stages of play after calling referee Ben Cummins ‘f***ing incompetent’ during the Tigers 72-6 loss to the Sydney Roosters.
The club have since confirmed Tamou will plead guilty to contrary conduct but challenge the grading. If successful, he'll be free to take on the Raiders and possibly bid farewell to rugby league with a home game at Leichhardt Oval.
Should the charge be downgraded to a Grade 1, Tamou would be free to play this weekend against the Dragons and pay a fine, while a Grade 2 charge would see him available to face the Raiders.
In the aftermath of his sending off, Phil Gould took to social media to make the unusual suggestion that Tamou’s penalty should be suspended due to his ‘exemplary career’, the fact the incident was obviously out of character and there was no chance of Tamou re-offending.
2-3 week ban for Tamou’s outburst is appropriate. Must be discouraged. However, NRL should suspend this penalty due to Tamou’s exemplary career, the fact this incident was totally out of character, there is no chance of re-offending, his immediate remorse ‘& apology was sincere.
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) August 21, 2022
Club chairman Lee Hagipantelis gave also Tamou a glowing defence in the media prior the match review committee’s findings.
“He’s an incredible human being, perhaps one of the most honourable men I’ve met in the game as a player,” Hagipantelis said.
“He wears his heart on his sleeve and sheer frustration got the better of him. He’s expressed remorse and an apology, which isn’t surprising. (The spray) was entirely out of character.”
“It’s a stain on the Tigers and how their season has been. That might be his last action in rugby league. It says a lot about where the club is at this year,” Fittler said.
“Sometimes you’ve got to hit rock bottom. James has to wear that for the rest of his life, but it’s a sign of what the club has done this year. It’s awful. They haven’t improved anywhere.”
Tamou's case will be heard on Tuesday evening.