Penkywicz facing ban after failed drugs test

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The Independent Online

Huddersfield's Sean Penkywicz has become the second Super League player this season to be revealed as testing positive for the banned steroid, stanozolol.

Huddersfield's Sean Penkywicz has become the second Super League player this season to be revealed as testing positive for the banned steroid, stanozolol.

The 23-year-old hooker or half-back will face the Rugby League's advisory panel on doping control next Wednesday. If his case follows the same pattern as that of Bradford's Ryan Hudson, he could be banned for two years.

Penkywicz, signed from Halifax two years ago, was an ever-present for the Giants last season and appeared in the first four rounds of the competition this year.

Huddersfield have confirmed, however, that he has been told to keep away from training since then. "Sean will be staying away from the club until the outcome of the hearing is known," said the Giants' general manager, Richard Thewlis.

An extra embarrassment for Huddersfield is that one of their directors is Keith Hellawell, once the government's "drugs tsar".

Penkywicz tested positive at a training session in December, becoming the ninth player to return a positive sample in the last four months - a number which the League's executive chairman, Richard Lewis, has described as too high.

It includes Phil Berry, who has yet to make his Super League debut for Warrington and has been suspended by his club since testing positive for nandrolone. His case will also be heard next Wednesday.

The Leeds prop, Danny Ward, has been called to today's disciplinary committee meeting to answer a charge of an alleged high tackle during the match against the London Broncos on Saturday.

Australia have included three uncapped players in their squad to face New Zealand on 22 April. They are the Melbourne full-back, Billy Slater, and the Penrith pair, Luke Priddis and Luke Lewis.

There is no place for Andrew Johns, who is still easing his way back after injury and has been unable to reclaim his spot at scrum-half.

The Kiwis will be without another Penrith player, Tony Puletua, who has been ruled out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.

The former Kiwi Test scrum-half, Stacey Jones, is being linked with a move to Perpignan for their Super League debut next season.

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