RUGBY LEAGUE: Green light for Newlove after high tackle

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The Independent Online
A COMBINATION of his previous good character and evidence from his victim, James Lowes, has left Paul Newlove clear to play for St Helens in their elimination play-off at Halifax on Friday night.

Newlove was sent off near the end of Saints' victory over Bradford last Friday for a high tackle on Lowes. But, following the appearance of the Bradford hooker to speak on his behalf yesterday, a disciplinary hearing decided that the dismissal was sufficient punishment.

Lowes apologised for "over-reacting" and the committee said that Newlove's impeccable record - he had not been sent off previously in 10 years as a professional - counted in his favour. He was "strongly advised" to keep his tackles down in future.

The verdict came as a relief to St Helens, for whom Newlove has been back to his very best in recent weeks. Anthony Sullivan who, as the winger outside him, has been the main beneficiary of his outstanding form, said: "Paul's a world class winger, who is important to me but also important for the whole team. It would have been a great shame if he had been banned for Friday's game."

Halifax hope to have their new end terrace open on Friday, taking their capacity at The Shay over the 10,000 mark and removing the need for the match to be all-ticket. Council safety inspectors are visiting the stadium this afternoon to make a definite decision.

Graeme Bradley, the Bradford captain, has been found not guilty of the alleged attack to the head of Saints' winger, Chris Smith, for which he was sent off early in the St Helens game.

The disciplinary hearing last night viewed tapes of the incident for over an hour before deciding that they could not be sure that Bradley had deliberately used his elbow when he dropped onto Smith.

The verdict will do nothing to dent Bradford's conviction that a harsh decision cost them the game. The Rugby League's operational board has already discussed remarks made by Bradford officials after the match at St Helens.

The club's chairman, Chris Caisley, and coach, Matthew Elliott, may be asked to explain comments made about the performance and capabilities of the referee, Stuart Cummings. Bradley also expressed himself baffled by the decision, in his last game before retirement, and will now feel himself vindicated.

The Wigan coach, John Monie, has opted for experience for Sunday's play- off clash with Leeds by recalling Danny Moore, a veteran of several finals series' in Australia, in the centres. Paul Johnson drops to the bench, where Neil Cowie will make his comeback after a four-match absence.

Warrington have followed up the transfer-listing of their young scrum- half, John Duffy, by making two first-teamers available. They want pounds 75,000 for their loose forward, Mike Wainwright, and pounds 45,000 for the prop, Warren Stevens. Their coach, Darryl Van de Velde, is in Australia looking at recruits for next season.

Mick Coates has been confirmed as the new coach at second division Oldham.

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