WINGHAM’S Group Three Rugby League top five aspirations were dealt a blow following lengthy suspensions handed out by the judiciary on Thursday night.
Two players, Joel Kleindeinst and Shannon Ellem were sent off by referee Cory Richardson following a brawl just before fulltime in the clash against Taree City at the Jack Neal Oval. Taree City’s Ash Currey was also dismissed.
After watching TV footage of the incident, the Group Three match review committee cited Wingham’s Kurt Lewis and Tim Bridge.
The Wingham players had legal representation for the hearing that lasted more than three hours. The representative challenged the citings, saying information was received by the club after the 5pm deadline on Monday. This was dismissed by the judiciary on the grounds of extenuating circumstances.
Group Three chief executive Barrie Smith, a member of the match review committee, explained members had to travel to Port Macquarie to view the footage on Monday. This information had also been relayed to the Country Rugby League.
Lewis has been suspended for five matches and will not play again this year unless Wingham makes the grand final.
Kleindeinst and Ellem are out for three and will be back if the Tigers make the semi-finals.
Bridge was suspended for two games and will be available for the last competition round.
Currey faced a punching charge but this was dismissed.
Bridge pleaded guilty to a high tackle charge and was facing a three match ban. He was successful in having the charge downgraded and is out two games with carry-over points.
Kleindeinst was facing a five match suspension on two charges. However, one was dismissed and the second downgraded, resulting in the three match ban.
Ellem pleaded guilty to a punching charge and also had this downgraded, resulting in a three match suspension. He was also facing five games.
Lewis was cited on two incidents and was looking at a nine game suspension. The first was dismissed and he pleaded guilty to the second, which was downgraded, meaning he will be out for five matches. He has just returned to football having recovered from knee surgery after being injured in the opening game of the season.
Wingham currently sits in fifth position, one point clear of Old Bar and plays Port City on Saturday, Old Bar at Wingham on July 22 and Macleay Valley at Kempsey on July 29 before the start of the semi-finals on August 5.
Taree City’s Shane Went was sent off in the reserve grade match and charge with a high tackle. He successfully had this charge downgraded with carry-over points. He won’t miss a game.