Manly forwards hopes his reputation won;t be tainted by incident.
Josh Starling has expressed his fears that an early guilt plea to eye-gouging charges stemming from an incident with Souths’ David Tyrrell may haunt him for the rest of his NRL career.
Starling could have copped a suspension if he fought the charges and loss but the early guilty plea meant he was able to continue to play for Manly as they push towards a top for place in the finals.
The Sea Eagles forward hopes fans of the game do not misconstrue his plea with an admission of guilt saying the heinous act of eye-gouging is just not a part of him.
“I never have, no. Actions happen, it’s a footy field,” Starling said.
“Hopefully I won’t be in that situation again. The still-shot (published in The Daily Telegraph) didn’t do me any justice. We watched the footage and there was nothing in it.”
Starling revealed he had already been having a tough time of it away from the field as a result of the incident, which occurred against an opponent the Sea Eagles forward counts as a friend, which he maintained was blown out of proportion
“There was backlash on Twitter, people giving it to me.
“You can’t pay too much attention to that. If you do that, then it would have been a pretty sad couple of weeks.
“I sort of laughed because I didn’t think anything would come about but then it got a bit more serious and then I had to try and justify myself I guess.
“If I had got him he would have grabbed his eye. None of that ever happened. The footage shows it was nothing. I couldn’t do too much about it.
“I am good mates with Dave Tyrrell and he knows there was nothing in it. I had dinner with him last night and caught up with a few of the boys.”