Adrian Morley, the Leeds and Great Britain second-row forward, must be considered the most doubtful of starters for Sunday Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull. Morley's one-man war against Wigan last Sunday has seen him cleared on one charge, but he will face another and possibly yet another after that.
The executive committee of the Rugby Football League decided to take no further action an apparent high tackle on Lee Gilmour in the first half that saw him placed on report by the referee, Steve Presley. But he has been charged with a reckless high tackle on Simon Haughton in the second half, a case which will be heard today.
He could also be charged with a late tackle on the Wigan scrum-half, Willie Peters, but the League has called for further video footage of that incident, which may not arrive in time and might necessitate an adjournment of that charge until next week. Even a one-match ban today, however, will rule out one of the cup-holders' most formidable players for the semi-final at the McAlpine Stadium.
Morley's indiscipline during the Wigan game, where the television cameras also caught him motioning to head-butt opponents on two occasions, is a further worry for Leeds after a start to the season which has seen them lose their first Super League matches under their new coach, Dean Lance. They can ill afford to lose a player of Morley's ability, but will do so unless he can temper his natural aggression.
Another of Leeds' more tempestuous characters, Barrie McDermott, will face no further action over his clash with Neil Cowie on Sunday. Cowie, the Wigan prop, has also been told that he has no case to answer, despite the running battle between the two.
Vila Matautia, on the other hand, has marked his first appearance of the season for St Helens by being cited to appear today on a striking charge. Matautia was recalled to the Saints side by their new coach, Ian Millward, for their match on Friday night at Hull, whose centre, Deon Bird, has been told that he does not have to appear over his role in the incident.
Paul Bell has left Leeds by mutual consent after a shoulder injury ended his season earlier this month. The 31-year-old Australian looks set to retire after the Rhinos agreed to terminate his contract just four games into a two-year deal. Bell, signed from the reigning Australian champions, Melbourne Storm, at the end of last season, will return home to have surgery on the shoulder, damaged in the 42-10 Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Dewsbury 10 days ago.
Leeds ruled out a move for rugby union's Scott Gibbs, but admitted they would be interested in replacing the Bell with Va'aiga Tuigamala.
Gibbs, the former St Helens dual international, comes out of contract with Swansea later this year, and has made no secret of his admiration for the 13-a-side code. Tuigamala, 30, was a huge success with Wigan after switching codes in 1993, but moved back into union with Newcastle four years later.
"We've no plans to talk to Scott Gibbs but, if Tuigamala was available and fit enough and affordable, he would be of interest," Leeds' chief executive Gary Hetherington said.
York, struggling near the foot of the Northern Ford Premiership, were hit last night by the resignations of the coach, Dean Robinson, and his assistant, John Paterson. York have won only one of their 10 Premiership matches so far this season.Reuse content