Centurions respond to misconduct charge

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LEIGH Centurions have issued a statement after they were charged with misconduct following the Grand Final win over Featherstone last year.

The club were fined £2,000 and found guilty of engaging in conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game.

A Doping Control Officer (DCO) was verbally abused while conducting a post-match test on a Leigh player.

The matter was initially dealt with as minor misconduct by the RFL Compliance Manager, who handed down a £2,000 fine, half of which is suspended until the end of the 2015 season.

The club appealed the sanction at an independent Operational Rules Tribunal, which upheld the decision.

But in the wake of the news, Centurions head of rugby Derek Beaumont has today issued a statement.

It reads: “After the Grand Final, Ryan Brierley and Jonny Walker were selected for testing, along with two Featherstone players. Ryan and Jonny fully complied with the requirements of the DCO and there were no issues arising from their samples, documenting the fact they are clean players.

“While we fully understand and support the need for testing in the sport it is naturally frustrating and disappointing when a player’s greatest hour is taken away from them and they are unable to join in with celebrations with their team-mates.

“The whole of our team were on the bus awaiting departure to a party that had been organised but Ryan was still being held by the DCO. He had provided a blood sample and a urine sample but was unable to provide enough urine to meet the requirements of the DCO.

“The DCO was spoken to by a member of the coaching team and a number of alternatives were suggested to him including accompanying Ryan on the bus so we could leave as the coach driver was insisting we left as his hours were nearly up.

“The DCO declined to agree to or offer any further alternatives and it was now becoming very late and the driver had to leave without Ryan. We made alternative arrangements for Ryan to return to Leigh. The boys were extremely disappointed to leave without one of their players but nonetheless were in good spirits as would be expected after winning a final.

“During the journey a former player and current employee of mine who had been at the game entertaining my biggest client answered a call on my phone from Ryan. Ryan’s phone however was being used by the DCO to inform me that Ryan had now completed the test. He was abusive to the DCO which he apologised for once he realised it was actually a DCO he had spoken to. He had first thought it was one of the lads with Ryan’s phone having a laugh which is common banter amongst players.

“While we would in no way condone any individual for speaking out of turn to anyone, let alone a DCO we did not feel we should be held accountable for a person in no way connected with the club just because he was travelling back on the team bus.

“The independent tribunal, however, ruled that as a club we were responsible for his actions. We have accepted the ruling, learnt lessons and moved on.

“At no time was there any allegation or suggestion of a lack of cooperation from Ryan. Indeed, to the contrary, the DCO complimented him on how he handled the situation. I trust this now clears up the matter and allows Ryan and the club to concentrate on the important job in hand this season.”