Roy Bell (right) will play for Northern United on Sunday against Ballina after escaping suspension for an alleged head butt.
Roy Bell (right) will play for Northern United on Sunday against Ballina after escaping suspension for an alleged head butt. Marc Stapelberg

Bell free to play

NORTHERN United captain-coach Roy Bell has escaped suspension and will line up for the Dirawongs against Ballina in its Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League clash on Sunday at Crozier Field.

Bell was sent off in the 18th minute for an alleged head butt against Mullumbimby at Les Donnelly Field, Mullumbimby, last Sunday.

Like any good captain-coach, Bell would have been kicking himself if he missed the game.

"He is thrilled to be able to play," Dirawongs secretary Grantley Creighton said.

The NRRRL are working off a new judiciary manual that has been introduced by Country Rugby League.

It is similar to the NRL system and has a certain amount of points allocated to each charge.

"The (Bell) charge accrued enough points to warrant a one-match suspension." NRRRL president Brian Rix said.

"But because he was sent off in the 18th minute, a certain amount of points gets taken off because he has served three-quarters of a one-match suspension already.

"If Roy gets sent off again, he might get a larger penalty."

Rix believes the new system will be a success this season.

"We had to make it so there was nothing left to interpretation," Rix said.

"There have been too many situations in the past where people have used the old system to their advantage.

"We had to draw a line somewhere otherwise we would be playing catch-up forever.

"Now a head butt is a head butt and that's what it will be charged as."

In an emotional week for the club, it will be its first game since under-18s player Kyle Yates died when his car hit a tree on his way home from training on Tuesday night.

Despite being in the car and treated for minor injuries, winger Josh Benn is hopeful of playing on Sunday.

Northern United under-18s kick-off is at noon on Sunday.

"Kyle was a great kid," Creighton said.

"He was one of those treasures to be around, always willing to get in and help out the club.

"It's been a very sad week and you never expect something like this to happen."

First grade kick-off is 2.45pm.

We had to draw a line somewhere otherwise we would be playing catch-up forever.



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