Agar gets record fine for outburst against referee

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The Independent Online

The Hull coach, Richard Agar, has been fined a record £6,000 for his criticism of the referee James Child after their narrow home defeat by Castleford last month.

The punishment, half of it suspended until the end of this season, was imposed after Agar was found guilty of breaching the Rugby Football League's operation rules and its Respect Policy. After the game Agar said that Child was "100 per cent the reason" that his side had lost. Hull's Sean Long and Lee Radford were sent to the sin-bin during the game and Long was sent off near the end. Agar then confronted the referee in the tunnel at the KC Stadium after the 20-18 loss.

His fine dwarfs the £4,000 – again with half suspended – imposed on Hull KR's Justin Morgan two years ago, but no action has been taken against Nathan Brown of Huddersfield for equally trenchant criticism of the match officials at Leeds this season.

St Helens have signed the Australia Test second-rower Anthony Laffranchi on a two-year contract starting next season. The 30-year-old Gold Coast forward has won five caps and played for the Saints coach, Royce Simmons, in the Grand Final-winning Wests Tigers side in 2005. "I have no doubts that he will distinguish himself in Super League," Simmons said.

Saints are to lose Kyle Eastmond, James Graham and possibly Tony Puletua and Leon Pryce next season, so new signings are a priority for their move to a new stadium. The recruitment of Laffranchi follows that of the Kiwi utility back, Lance Hohaia, last month.

"We may be losing some players next year, but the fans can rest assured that we will be as strong or stronger," said the St Helens chairman, Eamonn McManus.