Fax look at Gannon ban

HALIFAX officials were due to make a decision this morning on whether to lodge an appeal against the one match ban handed to Australian prop Jim Gannon at last night’s meeting of the Rugby Football Disciplinary committee.

Gannon, who was also fined £50, will now miss tomorrow night’s sudden-death Co-operative Championship semi final at Batley (7.30) unless Fax opt to try and overturn the verdict at Red Hall this evening.

The former Huddersfield and Hull KR forward was placed on report by referee Ronnie Laughton in the second half of last weekend’s 32-24 win at Hunslet and was subsequently charged with use of the knees on rival prop Adam Sullivan by the RFL’s video review panel.

“There was clearly a question mark over the tackle,” said Fax caretaker coach Damian Ball.

“Our argument is that it was accidental; Jim was committed to completing the tackle, but by the time he made contact Sullivan had found the ground and it ended up looking worse than it was.

“The contact was minimal, but I think the referee and the RFL felt there was intent there, which we’d dispute.

“We’ll look at it again today, with the directors, and decide whether we want to appeal.

“It’s certainly an option, because it’s a big game and you want all your players available.

“It’s quite tough on Jim, because he’s talked about retiring at the end of the year and if we end up going out tomorrow it’s not the way he would want to finish what has been a pretty distinguised career.”

While a question mark hangs over Gannon’s involvement at Mount Pleasant – an absence which would be offset to some extent by the fact the Bulldogs will be missing their prop Sean Hesketh, also through suspension – Ball had better news on back rower Stephen Bannister.

The former St Helens forward, who broke his thumb at the South Leeds Stadium, trained with his teammates last night and remains in contention.

“Steve had a bit of a fitness test and seemed to come through fine,” said Ball, who was due to finalise his matchday squad after tonight’s final practice run.

“He trained with his thumb strapped up, did a lot of contact work and there was no problem with it.

“If there’s no reaction, then I would say he will be in contention for a place in the 17.”