York City Knights counter Brad Brennan ban

York Press: York City Knight's Brad Brennan during the match against Hunslet Hawks. York City Knight's Brad Brennan during the match against Hunslet Hawks.

IN-FORM York City Knights prop Brad Brennan is facing up to three games on the sidelines after being called before Rugby Football League beaks - though the club are poised to plead the players' innocence.

Loan star Brennan has been charged with making a grade 'C' dangerous throw in the ninth minute of last Sunday's Championship One fixture at Hemel after the match DVD was watched by the review panel.

If found guilty, he faces a suspension of two or three games, while if he submits an early guilty plea prior to Tuesday's hearing, he would get a two-match ban. York's next three games, after tomorrow, are against the three teams who have beaten them in the league this year - Oxford, away, Oldham, at home, and Gloucestershire All Golds, away - and the club really don't want to head into them without their front row further depleted.

However, Knights boss Gary Thornton reckons Brennan has a strong case should he fight the charge.

"We're looking to defend it," he confirmed, after watching the DVD of the Stags player being lifted 'above the horizontal', a position which can lead to spear tackle.

"They've classed it as Brad putting the (Hemel) player into a dangerous position but I don't see it that way.

"The contact is between the chest and the waist and it's the involvement of two other players in the collision, and the mechanics of the collision, that has meant he's gone up slightly.

"Jack Lee and Jack Aldous forced the upper part of his body down. The implication is that Brad has lifted but I don't think he has at all. It was just an unfortunate collision. There's no intention to lift and I don't think the lifting has been caused by Brad's involvement."

The club and player will decide together whether to plead not guilty, aware they risk increasing the ban by an extra game.

"We have to discuss if it's worth fighting it, but my initial reaction is to go and defend it," said Thornton. "You have to be confident of getting a not guilty verdict - and I would be confident of winning the case."

Meanwhile, fellow loanee James Saltonstall has pledged his commitment to the Knights' title-chasing cause.

The Warrington threequarter was named in Italy's train-on for the European Championship, having been a non-playing member of the Azzurri's World Cup party, but he was not included in the squad for today's opener against Ukraine in Gemona. No Aussie-Italians are involved like in the World Cup, with the bulk of the team coming from Italy's fledgling domestic competition.

It is unclear whether Saltonstall, who qualifies through his mother, was not selected or chose instead to play for the Knights, but Thornton said: "I've spoken to him about the European Championship and he says he's fully committed to York."

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