GISBORNE captain Casey Summerfield’s participation in the BFNL finals series hangs in the balance.
The Bulldogs yesterday decided against accepting an automatic one-match suspension for Summerfield after he was reported for striking Sandhurst’s Nick Stagg late in the second term of Saturday night’s elimination final at the QEO.
Summerfield will front the BFNL tribunal tomorrow night. If found guilty he risks a greater suspension than the automatic one week.
The Bulldogs tackle Eaglehawk in a cut throat first semi-final at the QEO this Saturday night.
“Casey is a ball player, he’s never been reported before, he’s represented the league and I thought it was incidental contact,’’ Gisborne coach Kevin Fitzgerald said yesterday.
“Casey was devastated that he was sent off the ground for 15 minutes and left us a player short.
“He’s been a terrific captain for us all year and we really need him playing. We really have to take the risk.
“When you add all that up it was a no-brainer really.”
Summerfield has had an outstanding season for the Bulldogs and is rated a genuine chance to win the Michelsen Medal.
“I don’t know about whether or not we need to send players off, but losing him for 15 minutes in that game could have had a major affect on us,’’ he said.
“There didn’t look to be a lot in it, so even just losing him for 15 minutes was a big penalty.”
Summerfield’s report took the gloss off a stunning performance by the Bulldogs.
Few people rated the Dogs a chance of beating Sandhurst, but they handed the Dragons a 41-point thumping.
“We were really pleased with what we set out to do,’’ Fitzgerald said.
“We live again.”
For one of the few games this year the Bulldogs didn’t pick up any injuries.
Last year’s Michelsen Medal winner Scott Walsh looks set to resume against the Borough this Saturday.