Luke Gale has ban reduced for making contact with referee

Luke Gale in action for Leeds

Leeds half-back Luke Gale has had his two-match ban for making contact with referee Chris Kendall during Sunday’s defeat by Warrington halved on appeal.

The England international challenged the suspension handed down by the Rugby Football League’s match review panel and an independent operational rules tribunal agreed to reduce the grading of the offence.

Gale will serve his one-match ban when the Rhinos host his old club Castleford on Friday night.

Leeds could welcome back half-back Rob Lui on Friday after being named in Richard Agar’s 21-man squad. Lui replaces prop Mikolaj Oledzki, who has been ruled out with a toe injury.

Meanwhile, the Rhinos have confirmed the signing of half-back Blake Austin from Warrington on a one-year contract for the 2022 season.

The 30-year-old will join the Rhinos at the end of the season and becomes their third new signing for 2022 following on from St Helens forward James Bentley and Huddersfield half-back Aidan Sezer.

Austin has scored 32 tries in 62 appearances for Warrington since arriving at the club in 2019.

Leeds coach Richard Agar said: “We are delighted to be able to add a player of the quality of Blake Austin to our existing squad for next season.

“Consistently over the last two seasons, we have spoken about creating competition for every position in the side and, just as importantly, making sure that we have strength in depth.

“We saw earlier this season that we needed to improve our options at half-back, which Blake will certainly do but he can also play a number of positions across the team.

“We see plenty of adaptability and versatility in Blake and of course he has a great deal of experience both in the NRL and Super League having played nearly 200 games.

“Throughout our discussions about our vision for his role within our squad, I have been impressed with his ambition and willingness to play his part for the team and I am looking forward to seeing him in our environment.”

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