GEORGE Tyson has been banned for four games for throwing punches after the final hooter in Oldham’s Law Cup defeat by Rochdale Hornets.
He will miss the Kingstone Press Championship matches against Sheffield Eagles at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm kick off), then Featherstone Rovers (away), London Broncos (home) and Hull KR (away).
It could hardly be a tougher first month for Scott Naylor’s men, given that Hull KR and London Broncos are widely tipped to dominate the competition.
Though Tyson’s ban will inevitably be regarded as a blow to Oldham’s chances of picking up points in February, it will be lessened by the arrival of on-loan backs Keiran Gill (21) and Tuoyo Egodo (19) from Castleford Tigers.
They trained with the Roughyeds squad last night (while Tyson and club chairman Chris Hamilton were out of town on disciplinary business) and will be strongly tipped to survive the cut when Naylor names his 17 for the Championship opener.
Several players are still in doubt because of injury but there are high hopes that Danny Grimshaw, Danny Langtree, Jamel Chisholm, Scott Turner and Adam Clay will be ready in time.
Nathan Chappell (knee) didn’t train last night and won’t be in contention.
Nor will Tyson, who pleaded guilty to a grade D charge of punching, which carries with it a recommended sanction of three to five games.
The club’s overview of the four-game ban was that it might have been much more severe.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton, who attended the hearing with his player: “The panel indicated they had considered going outside the normal guidelines on suspensions because of the circumstances, like punching after the final hooter.
“We felt it was beneficial for George and I to attend, not least because it gave us the chance to explain what we considered to be extenuating circumstances, leading to George’s reaction.
“We weren’t there to defend what he did, but to explain what caused him to do it.
“George knows now that he will have to learn — and learn quickly.”