HAMILTON centre Sam Morgan will sit out the grand final against Maitland after the NHRU appeals committee ruled that a suspension must be served in the grade in which it was received.
Morgan copped an automatic one-week ban after he was issued a third yellow card for the season in the 36-28 win over Merewether in the major semi-final.
The Hawks progressed straight through to the grand final in first and second grades. But given the club had all grades still involved, Morgan was selected in third grade for the preliminary final. They argued that match should have counted as his suspension.
“That was one of the things we rose,” Hamilton president Brett Sutherland said. “There were some gaps in the by-laws that we could have attacked. There was scope to take it further, but it would have caused a headache in grand final week. We might have got a result but it could have been Friday and that is not the way we want to prepare.”
General manager Andy Fairfull said the NHRU’s stance regarding serving suspensions was the same as the Sydney Shute Shield and Subbies competitions.
Hamilton winger Fiso Vasegote is free to play after Merewether had an appeal against a not guilty verdict on a high tackle charge on Jay Strachan dismissed.
Morgan’s unavailability has forced a reshuffle. Kirisome Laulala moves from wing to outside centre. Sireli Bainivalu is the new winger.
Hamilton halfback Paul Dan was cleared to play in the third grade grand final after he had a yellow card expunged due to mistaken identity.