Forward to face league judiciary

MACLEAY Valley front-rower Sam Howe has been cited to appear before the Group 2 rugby league judiciary next Tuesday.

The Group’s management found he had a case to answer after examining video footage of an incident near the end of last Sundays’ first grade match at Rex Hardaker Oval.

It will be alleged Howe made contact with the head of Sawtell captain-coach Rohan Loudon, leaving that player’s jaw fractured in two places.

Among the competition’s most popular players of recent years, Loudon’s injury has caused great distress among peers and rivals, and Panthers president Mark Maynard confirmed his star coach is shattered by the incident.

“The surgery took place in Port Macquarie hospital on Tuesday night and we expect him home some time today,” he said.

“He will be out of football for at least 12 weeks, but that’s our least concern as we are pretty upset at what’s happened to someone of his stature.”

In the citation, the club insisted “we feel the incident was not just careless but a deliberate act”.

The Panthers suffered a double blow in the game with the outlook not good for veteran centre Nathan Davies, who may also be out for the season with a severe knee injury.

“The news appears worse than we thought, although the scans will reveal the full damage, but I believe there’s only a slight chance ‘Shorty’ will be back this year,” Maynard added.

“Obviously, this is not the best time of the season for things like this to be happening but the boys will pull together and get on with the job.”

Meanwhile, the zero tolerance policy on players sounding off at referees excessively has claimed a second scalp.

Woolgoolga player Suhkpal Mahli was sent off last Sunday by referee Cristian Petherbridge in the match involving Port Macquarie at the Sports Reserve and after pleading guilty to single sentence abuse, was given a two-match suspension.

However, with the early plea, a blemish-free record and having apologised for his actions to Petherbridge after the game, the sentence was cut leaving Mahli free to play this Sunday against Orara Valley.

Referees Association secretary Bill Gibbons praised all clubs for the attitude toward the measures.

“At one game there were signs up reminding everybody of their obligations and while there has been two send-offs, I’m pleased the feedback is very good,” he said.

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