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Injuries continue to rock British
A hip injury has forced Wigan hooker Terry Newton to become the fourth player to withdraw from Great Britain's Tri-Nations rugby league series.
The damaging hooker, who is expected to face disciplinary action for his fiery weekend display against English Super League rival St Helens, has decided to rest the hip problem that has troubled him for the last month.
The 26-year-old, who played in four of Britain's five Tri-Nations matches last year, joins Wigan teammate Kris Radlinski, Hull prop Paul King and St Helens' Paul Sculthorpe on the sidelines for the series against Australia and New Zealand.
"Terry has just carried the injury too long," said Wigan coach, Australian Ian Millward.
"We've had scans on it and it's fine. It just needs time and he is not getting any time between games.
"He would have liked to play Tri-Nations but he wouldn't be able to train during the week and you've got five hard games in a row."
The Tri-Nations series kicks off when Australia hosts New Zealand at Sydney on October 15, with the UK leg starting at Wigan on November 5.
Newton, who won his ninth test cap in the 44-4 Tri-Nations final defeat by Australia last November, was one of four hookers named in coach Brian Noble's initial 40-strong squad.
Matt Diskin (Leeds) and St Helens veteran Mick Higham, who both made their test debuts against New Zealand last year, are expected to vie for the British No.9 jersey with Keiron Cunningham.
Cunningham has been plagued by injury over the last three years and his last Great Britain appearance was in the first test against New Zealand in 2002.
But Millward believed Cunningham would be Britain's Tri-Nations hooker.
"I think Keiron Cunningham is in absolutely sensational form - he would have to be the best hooker in the game at present - and then you've still got Diskin, Higham and probably Malcolm Alker," he said.
But Newton may still face disciplinary action after his controversial weekend effort in Wigan's 38-12 loss to St Helens which clinched the Super League minor premiership.
St Helens and former New Zealand coach Daniel Anderson was "convinced" Newton was guilty of foul play that resulted in Lee Gilmour and Sean Long being hospitalised with suspected fractured cheekbones.
"It's a victory marred by some unsavoury performances," said Anderson.
"I understand rugby league is a tough game but we play within the rules of the game.
"I didn't think they did, and I'm disappointed by the match officials."