MICHAEL Ward, Oldham’s tackle-busting prop, faces the prospect of a two-match ban for the alleged use of his elbow in last Sunday’s relegation battle with Workington Town at Bower Fold.
He faces a grade C charge following an incident eight minutes from the end when Roughyeds, trailing by two points, were attacking strongly in pursuit of the winning try.
Super sub Ward, who scored just after half-time to put Oldham back in the game, looked dangerous every time he burst on to the ball at speed.
He was again threatening to blow the Town defence wide open when the visitors’ star half-back Jarrod Sammut stopped him with a one-on-one tackle .
There was a skirmish, the touchjudge intervened and Oldham were penalised.
The incident was picked up by the RFL’s Match Review Panel, whose charge against the Oldham forward carries a recommended sanction of two to three matches.
The case now goes to the sport’s Disciplinary Committee next Tuesday — only five days before Oldham and Workington clash again at Bower Fold in what promises to be another relegation humdinger.
Ward has the option of submitting an Early Guilty Plea but even that would carry a two-match ban, causing the prop to miss his side’s opening two games in the Championship Shield Super 8s against Workington and Swinton Lions.
Sammut is renowned for his attacking brilliance, but with that tackle on Ward and an earlier one on Adam Clay, for which he was penalised, he proved he is no mug defensively either.
The Match Review Panel also scrutinised the tackle on Clay, whose legs were taken above the horizontal before he landed heavily on his shoulder and sustained a grade-two tear, which might rule him out of the re-match and possibly the next game against Swinton away.
Sammut was cautioned by the Panel for what was described as a dangerous throw, but it was not considered serious enough to warrant a charge.
There was no action against Oldham’s Phil Joy. The Panel looked at a tackle in which it was thought he might have used an elbow or forearm, but his arms were found to be down on contact.
Workington’s Karl Olstrum, who played a key role in Town’s narrow win, will miss his side’s return visit to Bower Fold following a two-match ban for punching David Allen in Town’s previous game against derby rivals Whitehaven.
Oldham’s beat-the-deadline signing James Mendeika, meanwhile, is continuing to train full time at Bradford Bulls while waiting for his Roughyeds debut.
An Irish international with several caps, the 24-year-old utility back has joined Roughyeds on loan until the end of the season.
Under contract with Bradford to the end of next season, the former Warrington Wolves academy player had spells with Swinton Lions and Leigh Centurions on dual-reg or loan before moving to Featherstone and then on to Bradford, where he was reunited with James Lowes, whom he had worked for at Warrington.
Said Mendeika: “It’s a move that suits both parties. Oldham were looking for someone like me and in searching for some game time I was looking for a club like Oldham.
“They are hoping to do well in the Championship Shield and I’m hoping to come in and add a little bit to what they have to offer.”
He can play half-back, centre or full-back, as he has done many times for Mark Aston’s Ireland, but he is likely to be regarded as a centre by Oldham.