OLDHAM chairman Chris Hamilton will defend full-back Richard Lepori by telephone at tonight’s meeting of the RFL disciplinary committee in Leeds.
The Roughyeds’ Italian international is charged with making contact with referee Liam Moore during Oldham’s derby win against Swinton Lions at Bower Fold on Good Friday.
His alleged offence, grade ‘B’, carries a recommended suspension of one or two matches if the independent panel finds him guilty.
The decision to hit him with a charge was made by the sport’s match review panel.
The club won’t comment ahead of tonight’s hearing but it is known to be adamant that referee and player collided accidentally as each went about his job with Oldham defending near their own goal line.
Lepori is the latest in a long line of players to be charged with this offence, which has caused controversy all season.
Swinton forward Anthony Bate is charged with striking in the same match.
Three days later, at Halifax, Oldham prop Adam Neal was sin-binned for a high tackle, but the match review panel considered that to be sufficient punishment.
Roughyeds start their preparations tonight for Sunday’s Championship game at Dewsbury Rams, whose fortunes have taken a turn for the better since the appointment of Neil Kelly as coach a fortnight ago.
They hadn’t won a game when Kelly returned to the Tetley’s Stadium after a 16-year absence, but they have since beaten derby rivals Batley Bulldogs twice — first in the league and then in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup — and suffered a heavy loss at Sheffield Eagles.
Sam Day, a substitute for Featherstone in their cup win against Roughyeds, has since signed for Dewsbury on a month’s loan and he is expected to make his debut against Scott Naylor’s men.
Kelly plans to make further signings and he also hopes to have Toby Adamson back this weekend after a long injury absence.