Cockayne released by Rovers after police chase

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hull KR have released Ben Cockayne, who has been suspended for the last two weeks following a police chase. It was the latest in a series of incidents involving the full-back. Although he was not driving the car and does not expect to be charged, his agent and the club have agreed that it is time for a clean break.

Cockayne therefore becomes a free agent, although he has missed the deadline for signing for another Super League club. The future of the other player involved, Liam Watts, is still to be decided. Shaun Briscoe, who is being released at the end of Rovers' season, is joining Widnes.

Forgiven if not forgotten, six of Crusaders' seven sinners are back in the fold today. The seven were dropped against Hull KR last week, after breaking a drinking curfew. The side put up a spirited performance without them, losing 38-10, but all except the injured Peter Lupton are recalled to the squad to play Castleford this evening.

"There has been a lot of energy in the squad this week," said their coach, Iestyn Harris. "We are determined to pull ourselves off the foot of the table and finish the season strongly."

Harris has set his players the target of winning four of their six remaining games. The chance of Cas becoming the first of those four is improved by the absence of their undoubted star of the season so far. Rangi Chase, a leading contender for Man of Steel when the year's leading player is elected, was suspended for two matches for punching this week.

A reduction to one game on appeal frees Chase to play in the Tigers' Challenge Cup quarter-final against Huddersfield next weekend, but he serves his sentence at the Racecourse Ground today. Dean Widders is likely to move into his stand-off role in a reshuffle.

In today's other fixture, second-placed Warrington have Lee Briers back at Harlequins, but are still without captain Adrian Morley. On-loan forward Lee Mitchell is in line to play for Quins against his parent club.

There is an eagerly awaited comeback at Bradford tomorrow, where Danny Brough returns ahead of schedule after missing Huddersfield's last five matches with an ankle injury. The Giants have stuttered in his absence, but their captain, Kevin Brown, says it will be back to business as usual now that Brough is restored to the line-up.

Salford's new coach, Matt Parish, takes charge for the first time at Hull KR. He has played down talk of the play-offs this week, but victory would take them above Rovers at the threshold of the top eight.