Wingham's faltering Group Three Rugby League premiership campaign took another hit this week when two players, centre Kurt Lewis and second rower Jake Wheeler, were suspended by the judiciary.
Both are out of Saturday's sudden death minor semi-final against Port City at the Wingham Sporting Complex. The season is over for the loser of the game, with the winner advancing to the preliminary final.
Lewis was hit the hardest. He received a nine game suspension after being charged with striking using his head. The former North Coast representative was dismissed by referee Kyle Bannerman midway through the second half of the preliminary semi-final against Wauchope at Wingham.
The Tigers lost the game 28-14. Wauchope led 16-10 when Lewis was given the early mark.
Wheeler was charged with conduct contrary to the true spirit of the game. He was given his orders just before fulltime after a disputed try scored by Wauchope centre Sam Watts, where there was a suggestion the ball had been knocked on before Watts touched down. Wheeler allegedly made a comment to the referee.
Wheeler lives in Newcastle and didn't attend the judiciary hearing. He was represented by Wingham official Craig Martin.
He tended a letter of apology to the referee. Wheeler was successful in having the grading of his offence down graded from high to moderate, but this still carries the one game ban.
Lewis was at the hearing. His offence was graded as serious so carrying 600 points. He also had carryover points from previous suspensions in 2018, when he played in Group 21 and 2017, when he was in Group Three, both worth 300 points, pushing his tally to 1200 points.
He received a 25 per cent discount for pleading guilty, resulting in the nine game banishment.
The Tigers are already reeling through the loss of coach Mick Sullivan with an ankle injury, while brothers, second rower Jake Mullen and interchange forward Jackson Mullen, are still overseas.
Neither Lewis or Wheeler had been originally selected in the side to play the Breakers.