World Cup boost for Knowles, Bateman, Collins, JWH after judiciary rulings

Published by Brad Walter, IntRL
20 Sep 2022

England star John Bateman is set to miss the opening World Cup match against Toa Samoa at Newcastle's St James Stadium after receiving a three-match suspension for a high tackle in Wigan's semi-final loss to Leeds last weekend.

Bateman was sent off for his shot on former Canberra Raiders team-mate Aidan Sezer, who has been ruled out of the Super League grand final, and the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee imposed a three-match ban on Tuesday.

Bateman was earlier named in the England Knights squad to play France B in Bordeaux on October 1.

England officials have applied for the fixture to count towards the star second-rower's suspension, along with a World Cup warm-up match against Fiji at Salford on October 7.

St Helens forward Morgan Knowles will be available for England's World Cup campaign after a second appeal hearing overturned his two match ban and cleared him to play in the Super League grand final against Leeds.

Sydney Roosters prop Lindsay Collins will be available for Australia’s second World Cup match against Scotland after being allowed to include Sunday’s Prime Minister’s XIII match in his suspension.

Roosters front-row partner Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will also be able to include New Zealand’s World Cup warm-up match against Leeds in his ban, enabling him to return in the third pool match against Ireland.

Photo: Waerea-Hargreaves will return in NZ's third World Cup match (NRL Photos)

NRL judiciary chairman, Justice Geoff Bellew, granted the dispensation to the pair after the Roosters wrote to him seeking to have the fixtures included in the suspensions for Collins and Waerea-Hargreaves.

Collins received a four match suspension for a hip drop tackle in the round 24 match against Melbourne and has served two matches of his ban before the Roosters were eliminated in the opening week of the finals.

If selected in the Kangaroos squad for the World Cup, Collins will miss Australia’s opening match against Fiji at Headingley Stadium on October 15, which is headed for a sell-out.

Waerea-Hargreaves is yet to serve any of the three match ban incurred for dangerous contact in the 30-14 elimination final loss to South Sydney and will also miss New Zealand’s opening two World Cup matches.

French forward Romain Navarrete may also be able to include France's World Cup warm-up match against Tonga in his two match suspension, which included Toulouse's last round Super League loss to St Helens. 

South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess will be free to play for England as he completes his two match suspension in this weekend's grand final qualifier against Penrith Panthers.

If the Rabbitohs beat the NRL premiers, Burgess will be available for the October 2 grand final in Sydney.

Meanwhile, RLWC2021 officials have announced that the October 15 World Cup fixture between Australia and Fiji at Headingley Stadium is nearing a sell-out.

“The opening day of the tournament will see four of the top teams go head-to-head. After England Men v Samoa Men at Newcastle, it’s the world champions Australia taking on the emerging force that is Fiji," RLWC2021 revenue director Mick Hogan said.

“The supporters in Leeds have recognised what a huge match this will be and are buying early, in large numbers. We expect to sell out of general admission seats very soon and it is also really encouraging to see the terrace areas starting to fill.

“Some of the world’s greatest players will be be representing their nation, and many of the stars won’t have been seen before in an international shirt in this country.

"We would urge fans not to miss out on what will be an incredible evening of World Cup rugby league in Leeds.”