Rugby League: Davies is fined for outburst

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The Independent Online
LEEDS' embarrassment at having their chief executive fined on a disrepute charge was balanced yesterday by the news that Andy Gregory will be fit to play in the match responsible for the controversy.

Alf Davies has received a pounds 500 fine, suspended for 12 months, and warned about his future conduct by the League's board of directors as a result of his complaints in the press last week about being told to play Wigan tonight.

Davies told the hearing that his use of the word 'barmy' referred to the fixture situation in general, but the board still ruled that his criticisms were likely to bring the game into disrepute. Whether any damage to the game's image is repaired by treating one of its leading administrators like a naughty schoolboy is another matter.

Gregory's recovery from the back strain with which he finished Saturday's Challenge Cup win over Castleford is a pleasant surprise for Leeds and is bound to influence Wigan's assessment of tonight's task. Gregory was injured when the sides met in October, so this will be the first time since his summer transfer from Wigan that he has faced his old colleagues.

Kevin Iro will also be playing against Wigan for the first time and, with Gary Mercer and Steve Molloy passed fit, Leeds will be unchanged from Saturday. Wigan will bring in Sam Panapa for Martin Offiah, unless Offiah's ankle injury improves. Paul Atcheson will be the back substitute.

In the unfinished Challenge Cup business, Hull Kingston Rovers will be without Julian Barkworth, another ankle victim, for their replay at Widnes. Oldham's pitch was unfit for play when it was inspected yesterday morning. It will be checked again today to see whether the postponed tie against Bradford Northern can go ahead tonight. Oldham will still be without their outstanding young centre prospect, Gary Christie, with a knee injury.