Pirates walk the plank

Last updated 05:00 03/08/2012

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The Pt Chevalier Pirates have been kicked out of this year's Fox Memorial Cup rugby league competition.

It comes after the club was accused of throwing their match against Marist Saints last weekend.

Despite securing a third place rank leading into the play-offs, they lost the final match of their minor premiership campaign 102-0 to Marist at Walker Park.

The result meant the Papakura Sea Eagles were denied a place in the Fox Memorial semifinals and prompted them to complain to Auckland Rugby League that Pt Chevalier had "thrown" the match.

On Wednesday night an independent judicial review found the team guilty of bringing disrespect to the competition.

Pirate's head coach Grant Pocklington says the team is disappointed and "shattered" with news of the decision.

The three-man panel was headed by former High Court judge Trevor Maxwell and while they did not uphold an allegation of match-fixing they say Pt Chevalier did not field its best team for the match.

Pt Chevalier had 13 players in the game that were not on the team sheet the previous weekend.

Sixteen of those named for the side last weekend had not played in the rounds on July 7 and 14 either.

Polkington disputes the ruling and says two weeks before the game he confirmed with a "high up member of Auckland Rugby League" that resting key players was within rules.

Many of his team were injured and he fronted reserves to ensure the team was well enough to play finals. "This is just showing that it was a decision not designed to throw anyone."

As of yesterday the club is undecided whether or not it will protest the outcome.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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