Biting allegations overshadow Hull KR's 'massive' win

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The Independent Online

The Rugby League is waiting for reports from match officials before deciding what action to take over biting allegations in the Hull derby play-off. Hull KR beat their neighbours, Hull, 21-4 on Saturday to progress to the next stage, but their victory could leave a sour taste.

The referee, Phil Bentham, stopped play toward the end of the first half when Rovers' man of the match, Scott Murrell, claimed that he had been bitten in a tackle.

The League will study video evidence and the reports from the referee and the match commissioner Before deciding whether any Hull player will face a charge over the incident.

Murrell was one of the heroes of an outstanding defensive performance from the Robins, on the way to their first-ever play-off victory.

"I was really happy with the way we defended and that's what won us the game," said their coach, Justin Morgan. Now his task is to settle down his squad after the emotional high of beating their local rivals and prepare for another big effort next weekend. "It's been a massive week," he said. "I've enjoyed it, but it's been draining. I'm really pleased for our boys to get rid of the stigma of not winning a play-off game and now we've got a bit of momentum."

Morgan could have his loose forward, Liam Watts, back in action after a knee injury by the weekend.

For Hull, it is a case of regrouping for next season, with their coach, Richard Agar, promising a better balanced squad with more depth to build on this season's progress.

One player who will not be part of that is Craig Hall, who started the game at full-back, but was forced off early by a potentially serious knee ligament injury. He has already been told that there is no contract for him for next season and he has been linked with a move across the city to Rovers.

Another man whose future is uncertain is Crusaders' coach, Brian Noble, who declined to confirm after his side's courageous 18-12 defeat at Huddersfield that he is leaving for a job with the Australian club, Penrith.

Noble preferred to concentrate on the mighty effort from his players to get them as far as the play-offs against all the odds. "They've shown Super League their worth," he said. "I think the foundations are there for this club."

The game got away from the Wrexham-based side when Jordan James was sin-binned after 69 minutes and the Giants grabbed two late tries. "Towards the end, a couple of things went against us," Noble said. "I thought we were the better team and, but for a couple of lapses of concentration, we could have been in the mix for next week."

It was Huddersfield's first play-off win, but their coach, Nathan Brown, was full of praise for what Crusaders have achieved from such unpromising beginnings. "They've done a great job," he said, "Sometimes the losers deserve a lot of accolades."

Salford, who have been recruiting extensively for next season, have allowed two of this year's squad to move elsewhere.

The back-row forward, Ian Sibbit, is joining Bradford on a two-year contract, whilst the goal-kicking winger, Ste Tyrer, has agreed a one-year deal at Widnes, where he has already had two spells on loan.

Another Manly player is out of New Zealand's squad for the Four Nations next month. The half-back, Kieran Foran, has withdrawn to have shoulder surgery, after his team-mate, Steve Matai, was ruled out by a seven-match suspension for a high tackle.

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