Rugby League: Six-match suspension for 'vicious' Cassidy

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The Independent Online
THE WIGAN and Great Britain international Mick Cassidy was yesterday banned for six matches for a "vicious" strike on the Leeds second row forward Adrian Morley.

The 25-year-old Cassidy is one of only three players to have appeared in all 62 rounds of Super League since its inception in 1996, but now he will miss his club's five remaining league matches and the first tie of the Grand Final series play-offs.

The Wigan chief executive, Phil Clarke, who accompanied Cassidy to the hearing at the League's headquarters in Leeds, said the player would not be appealing against the suspension and added: "We accept the decision of the committee."

Cassidy immediately apologised for the incident which left Morley writhing on the ground during Leeds' 15-8 victory at Central Park last Friday. Cassidy was placed on report by the referee, Stuart Cummins, but was allowed to continue. He was subsequently referred by the League's executive officers to the disciplinary panel after they watched the incident on video. Morley was able to resume playing after lengthy treatment to a cut on the side of his face that later required two stitches.

A League spokesman, Peter Rowe, said: "The chairman did not accept the player's explanation but felt it was a vicious, deliberate strike with the forearm to the head of an opponent."

Andy Gregory, the Salford coach, escaped further punishment by the League yesterday when he finally paid an outstanding pounds 1,000 fine. The former Wigan, Widnes and Great Britain scrum-half was ordered to appear before the League's board of directors after failing to pay the fine, imposed for comments he made to the referee Steve Ganson in May.

He faced the possibility of having to pay an additional pounds 1,500, which was suspended at the time of the first hearing, but the directors let him off with a warning. However, he is still in trouble with the administration after being accused of making further disparaging comments to another referee, Karl Kirkpatrick, during his club's defeat by Leeds last month. That matter will be heard by the disciplinary panel and Gregory, who is already banned from the touchline for the rest of the season, could be suspended.

The new Gateshead franchise is to name Shaun McRae and Kerrod Walters as coach and captain respectively. McRae, the present St Helens coach whose contract is not being renewed, has won two Challenge Cups and the first Super League title in his three years at Saints.