Connolly faces costly ban for high tackle

Dave Hadfield
Tuesday 18 March 2003 01:00
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Leeds could lose their full-back, Gary Connolly, from their Powergen Challenge Cup semi-final, the draw for which will be made in Cardiff this afternoon, if he receives a long ban after being cited for a high tackle.

The Great Britain international has been called in to answer the charge at today's disciplinary meeting after scrutiny of the match video. His tackle on the Hull full-back, Steve Prescott, was placed on report on Sunday and the Rugby League has decided there is a case to answer.

That all comes a little late for the Hull coach, Shaun McRae, who was adamant at the time that a penalty try should have been awarded and that Connolly should have been sent off.

Connolly has been outstanding since signing from Wigan and his absence would be a serious blow to Leeds. The one factor in his favour is that there are three rounds of Super League before the semi-finals, so it would take a four-match suspension to put him out of the game that will decide who goes to the Millennium Stadium.

Two Huddersfield players, Stanley Gene and Darren Fleary, will be able to play against Leeds on Friday night, thanks to a loophole in the rules governing suspensions. The two were banned for two and three games respectively after the first Super League match of the season at Wigan, but will be able to play after missing just one game because they are allowed to count Academy games against their suspensions when there are no first team matches.

Matt Calland, like Fleary one of Huddersfield's major signings for their return to Super League, has decided to retire after being told that he faces surgery and a long lay-off after fracturing his eye socket at Wigan.The 31-year-old centre was signed from Rochdale this winter, but is now calling it a day after just two games for his new club.

The Huddersfield coach, Tony Smith, is to help the newly appointed New Zealand coach, Daniel Anderson, by keeping an eye on the form of Kiwi players in this country.

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