Mercer and Linnane in dock for criticising referees

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The Independent Online

Two coaches are to face the wrath of the Rugby League over remarks made about referees after matches. Halifax's player-coach, Gary Mercer, and Steve Linnane, of Rochdale Hornets, have been told to appear before a sub-committee next Wednesday.

Mercer, whose side has made an unbeaten start in Super League, made the remarks in his post-match speech after Halifax were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Bradford.

Linnane, an Australian in his first season in charge at Rochdale, is accused of abusing Karl Kirkpatrick after the home defeat by Widnes in the Northern Ford Premiership.

Greg McCallum, the League's director of referees, has been investigating both incidents. "The Rugby Football League remains steadfast in adhering to its policies concerning criticism of match officials," he said.

"There are official channels through which club officials have the facility to give us feed-back concerning match officials and they must be fully aware that the League will take action if they step outside those recognised parameters.

"Most coaches observe the guidelines the RFL has laid down and it is very rare that we have to take action."

Leeds have decided not to appeal against the three-match suspension imposed on Adrian Morley for a high tackle in the match against Wigan on Sunday.

"We left the decision to the player and, after thinking about it overnight, he has decided that there won't be an appeal," said the Leeds chief executive, Gary Hetherington.

Morley will miss two Super League matches, plus Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull, for which Jamie Mathiou and Daniel Ward have been added to the Leeds squad.

David Barnhill will start the game in place of Morley and Andy Hay has been included in a 19-man party despite doubts over a bicep injury. Daryl Powell may start at stand-off, allowing Iestyn Harris to move to full-back.

The Hull coach, Shaun McRae, will give his hooker, Mick Jenkins, until the day of the match to recover from knee ligament trouble in time to play. "He is about 50-50," said McRae of a player who was outstanding against Wigan in the quarter-final. "But if he doesn't make it I have a number of options."

Phil Farrell, the younger brother of the Wigan and Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, has gone on a month's loan to Oldham, with a view to a permanent move from Wigan.

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