Hall banned until end of next season

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The Independent Online
The Bramley forward, Dean Hall, has been suspended until the end of next season after being sent off for use of the elbow in the Second Division match against Hunslet last week, writes Dave Hadfield.

The 15-month ban, one of the longest ever imposed in Britain, is for "deliberately, callously and forcibly attacking the head of an opponent with his elbow".

The disciplinary committee has issued a statement, saying that the incident "had great potential for serious injury". They said that, despite lengthy suspensions for similar incidents, Hall had persisted with use of the elbow and that it had a duty to protect other players.

The Bramley chairman, Jeff Wine, whose club is one of the bottom four whose membership could come under scrutiny at the Rugby League Council meeting on Wednesday, said: "It's typical of the sentences Bramley have received this season and we feel that we are being picked on. We are leaving it to the player to decide what action he wants to take."

London Broncos are treating today's game against Bradford as a Cup final, with a top-four place at the end of the season as the prize. "It is the most important game for us," said the London coach, Tony Currie. "If we win it, we will be one point outside the top four with Warrington to play."

Currie is able to bring back Peter Gill after injury, although in a stand- off role that he has not played regularly for years.

"That gives some clue about the way we are going to play it," Currie said. "We will be looking for a very strong defensive performance from Peter."

Workington, the bottom club, go to Sheffield today with a pack that looks more threadbare than ever. Colin Armstrong was sold to Swinton this week and Jason Palmada, who may join the exodus soon, and Stephen Holgate, who is being linked with Wigan, are both likely to miss out with injuries.

However, Brad Nairn returns from suspension and Tony Smith could make his come-back after breaking his hand.

The city of Hull is involved in two matches tomorrow that will have far- reaching influence on the top of the two lower divisions.

Hull will be favourites to finish second in the First Division if they can beat Keighley at the Boulevard, while Hull KR can put two points between themselves and Hunslet if they can come away from the South Leeds Stadium with a victory.

Huddersfield, whose application to join Super League will be considered on Wednesday, have offered to give up the full share of News Corporation money to which they would be entitled for their first year and to manage on the smaller, First Division allocation.

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