The heavy suspension handed to Macksville boss Grant Coleman means he’ll be sidelined until the final match before the semis.
The heavy suspension handed to Macksville boss Grant Coleman means he’ll be sidelined until the final match before the semis. Trevor Veale

Eagles rocked

IN a major blow to his club’s premiership aspirations Macksville captain-coach Grant Coleman will be taking an enforced holiday from rugby league for all but one match in Group 2’s second round.

Ironically, his comeback game will be the meeting with Bellingen on August 15. Coleman was sent off by referee Vasco Baston in the 27th minute of last Sunday’s 46-30 win against the Magpies.

Following an incident which forced rival prop forward Jude Erskine from the field, the wiry hooker was charged with a category 3 offence of deliberate use of the arm or other part of the body with intent to injure.

In a move becoming increasingly rare, he bypassed the possibility of a lighter sentence with an early guilty plea and decided to fight the higher graded charge.

Coleman pleaded not guilty to the category 3 charge but guilty to a lesser category 2 offence and after being found guilty by the board in a split decision, he was handed a seven match ban.

Bellingen prop Bert Gray, sent off in the opening minutes of the second half, had a more favourable outcome after entering an early guilty plea to reckless use of an arm. With the referee recommending a downgrade to category 1, a discount for his previous good record means Gray will serve no time and be free for his club’s crucial visit to Port next weekend.



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