Rugby League: Goulding fined for tackle: Suspended punishment clears way for Australian trip


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The Widnes scrum-half, Bobby Goulding, has been fined pounds 1,000 for his high tackle on Jason Robinson in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup final earlier this month.

Goulding and the Widnes chairman, Jim Mills, appeared before the game's board of directors yesterday after complaints by Wigan about the tackle, which came shortly after the sending-off of his team-mate, Richie Eyres, in the Wembley showpiece.

Half of the fine has been suspended for 12 months and Goulding will not now have to face a disciplinary committee with the power to suspend him. That means that he and his Widnes colleague, Harvey Howard, can take up the invitation to play for the Gold Coast Seagulls in Australia this summer.

'That could all have been ruined, but hopefully now it will be able to go ahead within the next 48 hours,' Goulding said after the hearing. 'I'm happy with the decision and I feel that the board treated me fairly.'

Goulding has not been able to agree terms with Widnes for next season and believes that he will leave for Australia with his future in England unresolved.

Jack Robinson, the Wigan chairman, welcomed the board's verdict. 'We didn't want to see Bobby put out of the game, but the board have done the right thing by showing that they were not sweeping an incident in a major game under the carpet,' he said.

Widnes are still disgruntled about Wigan's complaint over a tackle which was penalised at the time by the referee, Russell Smith. They have threatened to ask the board to view videos of tackles by Wigan players in matches against them.

Bradford Northern will be the first club side to meet the New Zealand tourists this autumn. The tour, the shortest, at 11 matches, that the Kiwis have undertaken, begins against Wales at Swansea on 3 October, with the Bradford game three days later. Wigan and Leeds are the two clubs awarded lucrative Sunday fixtures.

The Rugby League Council yesterday discussed proposals from the game's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, which would reduce its role to that of holding monthly monitoring meetings. Lindsay believes that a 35-man body, with a representative from each member club, is too unwieldy to run the game.

NEW ZEALAND TOUR ITINERARY: 3 Oct: v Wales (Vetch Field, Swansea); 6 Oct: v Bradford Northern; 10 Oct: v Wigan; 12 Oct: v Castleford; 16 Oct: First Test v GREAT BRITAIN (Wembley); 20 Oct: v St Helens; 24 Oct: v Leeds; 26 Oct: v Great Britain Under-21 (Derwent Park, Workington); 30 Oct: Second Test v GREAT BRITAIN (Central Park, Wigan); 2 Nov: v Widnes; 6 Nov: Third Test v GREAT BRITAIN (Headingley, Leeds).