Ban may signal end for Schofield

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The Independent Online
Garry Schofield will miss Leeds' Premiership final against Wigan on Saturday and fears that he may have played his last match for the club.

The former Great Britain captain has been suspended for two matches after being sent off, for the first time in his career, for dissent against St Helens on Sunday. That rules him out of the match at Old Trafford and also the Charity Shield, again against Wigan, in Dublin in August.

Schofield's future after the end of this season remains doubtful, however. Leeds have signed a new stand-off, Tony Kemp from Castleford, and the dressing-room prank whereby Kemp's name has already appeared above Schofield's peg could prove prophetic.

"I could have pulled on a Leeds jersey for the last time," Schofield said. "I'm very disappointed at missing the final, but I am advised that there isn't much point in appealing."

The Rugby League's media manager, Paul Harrison, said that the disciplinary committee had taken Schofield's exceptional record into account. "But it was a very serious case of verbal abuse towards the match officials," he said.

Schofield's absence gives a surprise opportunity to the 20-year-old Phil Hassan. Originally from Wigan, he has played just 10 first-team matches and comes into the side at centre, with Craig Innes moving to stand-off.

With Ellery Hanley still out with a shoulder injury and apparently at the end of his Leeds career, the coach, Doug Laughton, retains the pack that played against St Helens.

Wigan are selling their full-back, Paul Atcheson, to Oldham for pounds 50,000, but he will be available for the Premiership final before joining his new club. Atcheson, unwanted at Central Park despite playing a major role this season, was also interesting Warrington, Halifax and the London Broncos.

Stephen Ball has resigned as chairman of Batley and may now take up a post as chief executive at Hull.