Newton appeals against record 10-match ban

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The Independent Online

Newton has accepted the three-match suspension he was given this week for a tackle which concussed St Helens' Lee Gilmour, but he is disputing the seven games received for an incident which left Sean Long with a fractured cheekbone during the same match.

"I've pleaded guilty in respect of the Lee Gilmour tackle, but I have also apologised for that," said Newton. "I want to make it clear to everyone that I did not tackle Sean with any intention to cause injury. I tackle aggressively and did on this occasion, but my sole intention was to use my shoulder."

Newton's appeal against the heaviest sentence imposed for foul play in the the competition will be heard next Tuesday, by a new panel which has the power to increase as well as cut his ban.

Bradford have confirmed their first signing for next season, in the shape of Leeds' Australian second-row or centre, Chris McKenna, on a two-year deal. The 30-year-old, previously with Sheffield and London, had rejected reduced terms at Headingley and had been considering going home before the Bulls made him an offer.

"It was a big decision to leave Leeds, but it was made a lot easier when I knew the Bulls were interested," said McKenna, who is expected to be joined at Odsal by his Leeds team-mate Marcus Bai and, subject to any rethink in view of his current difficulties, Newton.

Hull need to beat Warrington tonight if they are to climb above their opponents and guarantee themselves a home draw in the first round of the Super League play-offs next weekend. Hull are two points behind the Wolves but have a superior points difference.

The club expects a bumper crowd, partly to see the team parade the Challenge Cup at their first home match since winning the trophy and partly to watch the wizardry of Warrington's distinguished short-term guest, Andrew Johns, who will play his second game for them.

"Of course you prepare for him, because he's the best player in the world," said the Hull coach John Kear, who has his own short-term signing, Sione Faumuina, making his home debut.

Meanwhile, McKenna is back in Leeds' squad as they try to end a four-match losing streak when they play Wakefield tonight. Ryan Bailey is also back, but Ali Lauitiiti has had knee surgery and will be missing, while there is still no sign of Keith Senior's return from the ankle injury.

Sheffield Eagles have appointed the former Hull KR coach Gary Wilkinson as their new head coach. He will work under Mark Aston, who is moving up to become football manager.

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