Leeds second rower Brett Ferres has issued a public apology for his ‘crusher’ tackle on Wigan centre Oliver Gildart but is considering an appeal against the severity of his ban.
The England forward was given a six-match suspension, as well as a £300 fine, for the dangerous challenge in last Friday’s Betfred Super League match which left Gildart facing a two to three-month lay-off with a serious back injury.
Ferres, who was sin-binned during the game, admitted the offence when he appeared in front of a Rugby Football League independent disciplinary tribunal in Leeds on Tuesday, but he contested the severity of the grade E charge.
The former Bradford, Wakefield, Castleford and Huddersfield player apologised on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the game and on Wednesday issued a statement through his club.
“I do think the incident could have been avoided with a different approach to the tackle and an understanding of how the player was positioned,” Ferres said. “But we have a split second to make a decision in a very intense tough sport. The game is hard enough and no player wants to go out there and intentionally hurt any other player.
“I am deeply sorry to Oliver that this tackle has resulted in him being injured, I never meant to cause that. I’m also sorry to my team-mates and coaches, the club and the fans.”
He added: “All that in consideration, however, I am disappointed with the severity of the ban and feel there were valid points that were not perhaps taken into account in the hearing and I am considering appealing the length of the ban.”
An RFL spokesman said no appeal had yet been lodged but that the player had until 11am on Tuesday, April 11 to do so.
Any appeal would be heard that evening.
As it stands, Ferres will miss Leeds’ next five Super League matches, starting at Warrington on Friday, and the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup-tie against Doncaster on April 21.
The ban will also rule him out of contention for England’s mid-season international against Samoa in Sydney on May 6.