An Australian rugby league player had part of his ear bitten off in a wild brawl during a match, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
Jason Schirnack, who was playing in the forwards for Sydney-based club Wests Tigers, was rushed to the Liverpool Hospital after being bitten in what his coach Paul Fletcher described as a "bar-room brawl" during the game.
The opposition player responsible, winger Mitchell Stevens, 22, has been released by his club, the North Sydney Bears, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The ugly match last Sunday was part of the NSW (New South Wales) Cup — one of the two feeder competitions for the nation’s prestigious National Rugby League premiership.
Stevens will face the sport’s judiciary Wednesday night, and if found guilty, The Daily Telegraph reported he could be suspended for 18 to 20 weeks. Other media suggested he could be banned for at least a year.
Furious Tigers officials have lodged an official complaint over the bite to the sport’s governing body, New South Wales Rugby League, while Schirnack, 21, described the bite as a "low act.”
"I was involved in a bit of biff with the guy and we started wrestling on the ground,” Schirnack told Rugby League Week magazine.
"Other players came running in and as we were wrestling on the ground, he took a chunk out of my ear. I couldn’t believe it.
"It wasn’t really all that painful, but when I realized a bit of my ear was missing, I was in shock. It’s a low act.
"I saw a plastic surgeon, but he said there wasn’t much he could do," Schirnack said. "We didn’t have the missing bit, so that made it hard for him to do anything. My girlfriend isn’t happy because it looks pretty ugly, but what can I do? I just have to get on with life and try to move on."
Tigers coach Paul Fletcher said: "The game was pretty nasty; it was like a bar-room brawl. There was no need for that sort of thing — it was a disgraceful act."