James Graham banned for 12 games for biting Billy Slater

James Graham attends the NRL hearing

England international James Graham has been suspended for 12 matches for biting Melbourne's Billy Slater during Sunday's NRL Grand Final.

The Canterbury Bulldogs prop and former St Helens star was banned following a three-hour hearing.

The ban includes England's two upcoming Tests against Wales and France, plus two trial games for Canterbury.

Graham was found guilty of biting Slater on the left ear during a first-half brawl at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Slater made an on-field complaint to officials, who noted that the Australian international full-back's ear was bleeding.

Melbourne won the game 14-4.

Graham, who joined the Bulldogs from St Helens at the end of last year, pleaded not guilty to the charge and maintained his innocence throughout the hearing.

The not-guilty plea made Graham ineligible for a 25% reduction on the final penalty and it is thought unlikely the Bulldogs will appeal.

An NRL spokesman said the player could appeal "if there is an error in law or that the decision was unreasonable or insupportable having regard to the evidence on which it is based".

He said the club could also contest the length of the ban if they feel it is "manifestly excessive".

Graham, who has also played for Great Britain, won Super League's prestigious Man of Steel award in 2008.

Graham was this week named in England coach Steve McNamara's 24-man squad for the autumn internationals and was due to link up with them next Wednesday for a 10-day training camp in South Africa.

England are due to play Wales on 27 October, followed by France on 3 November. The final is at Salford City Stadium on 11 November.

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