Citation withdrawal clears Ryles to play

RUGBY LEAGUE

Wests captain-coach Jason Ryles will be free to lead his side against Corrimal on Saturday after the Illawarra Coal League board withdrew his citation as part of a marathon judiciary hearing on Thursday night.

A total of eight players - five from Wests and three from Thirroul - were cited in the aftermath of a spiteful clash with Thirroul at Gibson Park last week.

Wests Illawarra captain-coach Jason Ryles.

Wests Illawarra captain-coach Jason Ryles.

Ryles was cited along with teammates Nick Mastro, Justin King, Will Tom and Jordan Harty, but league manager Chris Bannerman confirmed on Friday that additional reports and further consideration of evidence arising out of the match review determined that the former international had no case to answer.

"The citation of Jason Ryles has been withdrawn by the board of management," Bannerman said.

"There were some statements that were produced that added weight to the Wests case. We thought the balance of evidence was in favour of Jason and on those grounds the citation was withdrawn."

Tom was found guilty of a high-grade striking, which carries a five-match suspension, but consideration of his record and a guilty plea saw his suspension reduced to two games.

Thirroul will be without centre Brent Grose this week after he was found guilty of a moderate-level striking charge.

The charge carries a three-week suspension but Bannerman said consideration of the former NRL and Super League player's impressive playing record across all levels of the game saw his suspension reduced to one week.

Butchers prop Aaron Beath was found not guilty of striking but was found guilty of a moderate-level code of conduct breach, which carried a two-week suspension.

Mastro, who with Thirroul counterpart Andrew McCarthy was sent off during the match, will miss three weeks after pleading guilty to a striking charge on Wednesday night.

McCarthy also entered a guilty plea but successfully challenged his moderate-level grading and will miss two weeks for a low-level charge.

King and Harty were issued with charges on Friday, with their cases to be heard on Friday night. Players have until Tuesday to lodge any appeal.

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