Rugby league: Bloem to face biting charge

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JUST TO add to their problems, Halifax's South African centre, Jamie Bloem, will today face a disciplinary hearing on a biting charge. Bloem was placed on report by referee Steve Ganson after the Warrington scrum-half, Lee Briers, complained that he had been bitten during the match at Wilderspool on Friday night.

The Rugby League has decided that there is a case to answer after viewing a video of the incident and Bloem, whose previous record includes a ban for steroid abuse while playing for Doncaster, could face a long suspension if found guilty. Biting charges are a rarity in rugby league, where it is regarded as among the more outrageous offences, although Briers himself was accused earlier this season.

The loss of Bloem would be an added burden for troubled Halifax, who are trying to maintain standards on the field while thrashing out a voluntary agreement with their creditors.

Two other players, Michael Jackson of Sheffield and Tony Kemp of Wakefield, have also been called up for high tackling on video evidence. Kemp, the Trinity captain, was roundly criticised by the Castleford coach, Stuart Raper, for his treatment of Danny Orr during their match on Sunday.

Wigan are preparing to announce a signing this week, although it is less likely to be a homecoming for Shaun Edwards, currently banned from training with the London Broncos, than the recruitment of Chris Chester from Halifax.

Although Wigan are among the clubs to deny that they are about to exploit Halifax's cash-flow crisis by raiding their playing strength, the Yorkshire club say that they are close to agreement on transferring one of their players. They could expect a fee of around pounds 70,000 for Chester, plus the pounds 20,000 they still owe Wigan for Darryl Cardiss. The deal could be complicated, however, by the interest being shown in the 20-year-old stand-off or loose forward by Leeds and Warrington.

London's bad luck with imported forwards has continued with Scott Cram, who dislocated his shoulder in only his fourth game for the club at Huddersfield on Sunday. Martin Offiah, left out of the side recently, is in line to return for the match at Bradford tomorrow night, but their coach, Dan Stains, says that he is no closer to inviting Edwards back into the fold after expelling him for his "negative attitude".

Salford's new coach, John Harvey, will arrive tomorrow and take charge of training for Sunday's match against Wakefield.

The York coach, Dean Robinson, is waiting for the club's board to contact him after hearing indirectly that he has been suspended after failing to travel with the team to Barrow at the weekend. Robinson and his six strong support staff declined to make the trip after not being paid for nine weeks. Their captain, John Strange, took charge as York won 25-18.