Ledger's positive cannabis test
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Thursday 05 January 1995
The 32 year old, who had a long and successful career with St Helens before joining Leigh and then Swinton, said that he considered the punishment harsh and that he would have to consider his future. "I don't know yet if I'll be playing again next season" he said as he left the hearing in Leeds yesterday.
His suspension is double that handed out to the only other player to test positive for cannabis in England, the New Zealand international, Dave Watson, now with Bradford, who was banned for three months while playing for Halifax in 1992.
"We presented his excellent record and submitted mitigating circumstances and, while we feel the sentence is very severe, we support the League in its determination to eliminate any drug misuse in the sport," said the Swinton chairman, Malcolm White, whorepresented Ledger at the hearing.
He said that Ledger would not be appealing against the sentence, unlike Jamie Bloem, the Doncaster full-back found guilty of using steroids, whose appeal against his two-year ban was postponed yesterday.
Two players who hope to oppose each other in Sunday's Regal Trophy quarter-final are both making person appearances before the league's disciplinary committee today.
Henry Paul of Wigan, sent off for a high tackle on Boxing Day, and Sonny Nickle of St Helens, dismissed this week at Wigan, could both be ruled out of the tie by any suspension.
Gateshead International Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for the England v France match on 18 February, after an encouraging attendance for the Great Britain under-21 fixture against Australia in November.
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