RUGBY LEAGUE; Seven-month suspension for Broncos' Peters

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LONDON BRONCOS' Dominic Peters has been banned until next April for an incident that left his opponent with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone. The 20-year-old utility player, sent off for flooring the Hull forward Steve Craven during the Broncos' 28-12 victory at the Stoop last Sunday, was fined pounds 250 and suspended until 31 March next year for his part in a brawl.

The ban will rule the player out of London's opening Super League matches of next season and effectively puts him out of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup unless the Broncos reach the final for a second successive year. The game's disciplinary committee were particularly severe with Peters since he apparently ran in from the wing following an outbreak of fighting and struck Craven a blow to the head. Craven, who will today undergo surgery for the injury, is said to be considering taking legal action against Peters.

Receiving a less severe ban was the Sheffield Eagles prop Dale Laughton. He has been suspended for two matches, a sentence which will still allow him to play in the Tri-Series in Australia and New Zealand this autumn. Laughton was sent off for butting Huddersfield's Gene Ngamu at the end of the first half last Saturday. Earlier this season, he was banned for two matches after being dismissed for committing a similar offence against a Wakefield Trinity player.

The Test forward will now miss Sheffield's final Super League match, at Hull on Sunday, plus Great Britain's warm-up against the Burleigh Bears before the triangular tournament in October. The League has already clarified the status of that game with the Australian Rugby League, which has agreed that it will count against his ban.

The lenient sentence was explained last night as being in recognition of "severe provocation". A Rugby League spokesman said Laughton had been grabbed by the testicles and also subjected to verbal abuse. Laughton, who played in all three Tests against New Zealand last October, has also been given credit for a good disciplinary record before his first sending- off of the season.

Gateshead's former Australian Test hooker, Kerrod Walters, has rejected the club's terms for next season and is now likely to return home. The Thunder will now hold talks with Mick Jenkins, signed from Workington to replace Walters, about a contract for next season.

Hull's final Super League match, at home to Sheffield on Sunday, has been put back to 7.30pm, the same time as their relegation rivals, Huddersfield, play Castleford.