Bai and Kearney lose damages case

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The Independent Online

Rugby League officials were digesting the implications of a court ruling in in Sydney yesterday in which two Super League players were made liable for damages sustained in a "spear tackle".

Rugby League officials were digesting the implications of a court ruling in in Sydney yesterday in which two Super League players were made liable for damages sustained in a "spear tackle".

The Leeds winger Marcus Bai, a member of the Rhinos' Super League Grand Final-winning team, and Hull's new signing Stephen Kearney were the players involved in the tackle which ended the career of New Zealand international Jarrod McCracken nearly five years ago. "This should send a shudder down the spine of ... administrators in any body contact sports and the insurance companies who insure them," said Robert Crittenden, the players' lawyer.

The tackle occurred while Bai and Kearney were playing for Melbourne Storm in a National Rugby League match against McCracken's Parramatta side in May 2000. McCracken, now 34, said the tackle resulted in neck and spinal injuries that ended his playing career.

Justice Robert Hulme ruled in the New South Wales supreme court that Kearney and Bai, and therefore the club, were negligent in executing the tackle. The amount of damages will be determined by a separate hearing in August, but the players will be covered by the club's employees' liability insurance.

Wigan have signed the former Warrington forward Jerome Guisset from the union club Brive on a two-year contract. Guisset will help fill the void created by the loss of prop Luke Davico and the imminent departure of captain Andy Farrell.

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