Rugby league match fixing verdict due
The Papakura Sea Eagles rugby league team expect to learn tomorrow whether they will be in the Fox Memorial Trophy semi finals after the team appealed to Auckland Rugby League with accusations of match fixing by the Pt Chevalier Pirates.
A three-person judicial panel, headed by former High Court judge Trevor Maxwell, will determine whether the Pirates are guilty of a charge of bringing the game into disrepute after their 102-0 defeat by the Marist Saints on Saturday.
An initial investigation revealed that 13 of the Pirates who took the field against Marist were not on the team card the previous week.
Fairfax Media has established that all 17 players on the Pirates card were registered with the club's premier seconds and reserve grade teams.
The margin of victory enabled the Saints to snatch the fourth semi final spot from the Sea Eagles with a superior points differential and set up a rematch against the Pirates in the sudden-death semi final this Saturday.
The Sea Eagles cried foul and lodged a complaint with the Auckland Rugby League.
Auckland Rugby League charged the Pirates with a series of offences yesterday including bringing discredit on the game, the Auckland Rugby League and the Fox Memorial Premiership.
It has also charged the Pirates with failing to participate in a professional manner which is a breach of their Premiership Participation Agreement.
The charges centre on allegations that the Pirates deliberately attempted to influence who finished the Fox Memorial Trophy's minor premiership in fourth place and that they achieved it by not fielding their best available players.
The charges are unprecedented and football administration manager Juanita Woodhouse said he is not quite sure what the maximum penalty will be should the Pirates be found guilty.
Papakura Rugby League board member Trevor Mitchell said they want to be reinstated to the semi finals.
''We appear to have the support of the ARL," he said.
The more extreme sentiment is that the Pirates should be relegated back to the third division and the Phelan Shield competition as punishment.
Sea Eagles coach Darrin Smith said there was little he and his team could do but sit and wait.
''We will carry on with our preparations as if we will be playing the semi final.''
Smith said he thought his team had done enough after their 46-26 win over the Bay Roskill Vikings.
''We were gutted when we heard Marist had beaten the Pirates by 102-0 to overtake us.''
Smith said they were confident about their semi final chances against the third-placed Pirates because they'd already beaten them twice this year.
The Pirates beat the Saints 48-16 in their first round encounter.
The major semi final between the Mt Albert Lions and the Glenora Bears remains unchanged.
The other members of the judiciary panel hearing the complaint are ARL life member and long-time administrator Allan Gore and former police officer Geoff Downey.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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