Rugby League: Blease is banned for life

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The Independent Online
Ian Blease, the former Salford captain, was yesterday banned for life after being found guilty of assaulting a touch judge, writes Dave Hadfield.

The 32-year-old forward was firstly sin-binned and then sent off in last Thursday's 56-14 reserve defeat at Bradford Bulls.

He faced the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee yesterday and was banned sine die. Blease, who was legally represented and accompanied by the Salford chairman, John Wilkinson, left without comment.

St Helens' preparations for their World Club Championship opener against Auckland Warriors have been hit by the news that their stand-off, Karle Hammond, has pneumonia. That means the 18-year-old Jason Johnson retains his position. Saints have four other players back tonight: Steve Prescott, Apollo Perelini, Keiron Cunningham and Chris Joynt. Ian Pickavance is on the bench, while Julian O'Neill plays in the front row.

The tournament winners will receive pounds 500,000, thanks to a sponsorship deal with Visa International.