Oct 6 2013
Warrington forward Ben Westwood is facing an anxious wait to discover if he will be available for England's opening World Cup match against Australia later this month.
The 32-year-old second rower was put on report by referee Richard Silverwood for throwing a punch in a tackle at Wigan stand-off Blake Green in the opening stages of Saturday's 30-16 Grand Final defeat by the Warriors at Old Trafford.
The incident will be examined by the Rugby Football League's match review panel on Monday - the day Westwood flies out to South Africa with the other Grand Finalists to join up with the rest of the England squad at their high-altitude training camp.
If Westwood is called to face a disciplinary hearing , it is likely it would be conducted via Skype or conference call between the England team hotel and the game's Leeds headquarters on Tuesday.
A one-match ban would rule Westwood out of England's warm-up match against Italy at Salford on October 19 while anything more would mean him missing the clash with the Kangaroos in Cardiff a week later.
Westood will also have to get over the heartbreak of a second successive Grand Final defeat which leaves the club still waiting for a first league title since 1955.
He was among the tryscorers as the Wolves established a 16-2 lead after 27 minutes before collapsing as injuries took their toll in the second half.
Warrington's nightmare began when winger Joel Monaghan, who had opened the scoring with his 28th try of the season, knocked himself unconscious attempting to bring down his opposite number Pat Richards three minutes before half-time.
He left on a stretcher and full-back Stefan Ratchford limped out of the action 11 minutes into the second half after damaging an ankle in a tackle from Wigan second rower Harrison Hansen.
In the resulting re-shuffle, veteran playmaker Lee Briers became the team's third full-back in almost as many minutes and was powerless to halt Wigan's growing momentum.
"It's hard to explain," Briers said. "We thought we had it but then we had a few disruptions. Fair play to Wigan, they strangled us in the second half.
"The injuries are no excuse because we're a strong squad. I had to go to full-back which leaves us a half down so that was a massive hole to leave but we needed to be stronger to overcome that.
"That's the way rugby is. It's a great achievement to get here and obviously we're disappointed that we never got the result. But there's got to be a loser and unfortunately it's us.
"We'll get there one day. It might not be in my time but hopefully next year."
Warrington will check on the injuries to Ratchford and scrum-half Richie Myler, who are both in the England Knights squad for the friendly against Samoa on October 19.
Myler, who played in England's 30-10 win over the Exiles in June, was left out of Steve McNamara's World Cup squad but is hoping to remain on stand-by by playing for the Knights.
"Any time you get an opportunity to play for England, at any level, you grasp it," he said.
"I'm struggling at the minute. I've got a couple of little niggles but hopefully I'll be right. I'll go for a scan tomorrow and see how I am."
The Rugby Football League's match review panel will examine Hansen's challenge on Ratchford, which has become known as a "cannonball tackle" and ought to be outlawed, according to Briers.
"It's where someone goes flying into somebody's legs," Briers said. "It's a legal tackle but it needs to be made illegal.
"It's up to the Rugby League to get rid of it. Harrison Hansen has done nothing wrong but he had a lot of body to hit.
"If you saw it in Australia, it would have been an eight-game ban."