KEIGHLEY Cougars prop Brad Nicholson has been banned for EIGHT games for his part in the controversial incident that saw York City Knights’ Connor Robinson helped off the pitch in the feisty League One clash at Cougar Park last month.

The Rugby Football League's match review panel (MRP) said it "had serious concerns about this incident", believing Nicholson’s actions were "highly dangerous and showed a complete disregard for the safety of an opponent".

Former Knights player Nicholson had been charged by the disciplinary chiefs with contrary behaviour, following the game on June 24, which the Knights won 46-14. It was Grade ‘F’ charge - the most serious there is - and the 23-year-old entered a guilty plea at his tribunal.

The incident initially saw Robinson caught by a high shot. When on the ground, he appeared to be manhandled by Nicholson before being treated by medics and helped off the field.

Nicholson was sin-binned for the second time in the game.

Robinson missed last Sunday’s home game against Newcastle due to concussion. He could make his return this Sunday against Doncaster.

The summary of evidence as outlined on the disciplinary section of the RFL website said: "The MRP had serious concerns about this incident. The opponent can be seen to receive contact to the head from a careless high tackle, from Mr Nicholson’s team-mate.

"Whilst the level of force is not substantial, the opponent appears to immediately be concussed. It is noted the individual who makes contact with the head of the opponent does not appear to immediately take any issues with the fact the opponent is injured.

"At this point, the opponent is laying face down on the ground and does not appear to be moving. Mr Nicholson can then be seen to immediately approach the opponent, who remains laying on the ground in a face down position, with a team-mate.

"The team-mate appears to shout something at the opponent and slap the back of his head, before Mr Nicholson can be seen forcefully lifting the opponent, seemingly in anger, whilst the opponent remains unconscious. The MRP noted the match official identifies Mr Nicholson as shouting ‘get up you soft ****’ whilst doing so.

"Whilst the MRP felt this indicated Mr Nicholson believed his opponent to be faking the injury, the MRP had serious concerns over the lack of regard for his opponent’s safety, with moving an unconscious player being an extremely dangerous thing to do.

"At that stage Mr Nicholson had no idea whether or not the opponent had an injury or not and it is obviously impossible to accurately assess that in the matter of seconds which Mr Nicholson had.

"It transpires the opponent was concussed, with it being reported he was concussed for 30 seconds. The opponent received lengthy treatment on the field and was then removed. The opponent did not return to the field of play following a concussion assessment.

"The MRP felt Mr Nicholson’s actions were highly dangerous and showed a complete disregard for the safety of an opponent, through his very serious actions.

"The panel had no hesitation in grading this a Grade F offence, the recommended minimum sanction for which is an eight-match suspension."

Nicholson had been accompanied at his hearing by Keighley coach Craig Lingard. He pleaded guilty but challenged the level of the grading.

The summary on the RFL website said: "Player accepts his actions were inappropriate and he should not have done what he did.

"The player explains he is not the type of player to take this course of action generally but as the opponent was on the ground he appeared to be sniggering and laughing at the opponents and faking injury.

"Player now aware the opponent did suffer from concussion and appreciates his actions could have resulted in more serious injury to the opponent. Player has shown considerable remorse. The coach endorsed the club do not condone this type of action."

In their reasons for the eight-game suspension, the MRP surmised: "This tribunal are satisfied from the footage the opponent (Robinson) did not appear to receive much of a blow to the head during this tackle. This tribunal are not dealing with this matter in the belief this player was aware the opponent was concussed.

"This player should be aware in this game all manner of blows can result in serious injury. Concussion did occur and there was no way this player could make that assessment. It appears the player just lost his control.

"The opponent was lifeless on the ground and this player picked him up and let him down. The player then rolled the ball at him whilst he was being attended to on the ground by the physio.

"This was an incredibly foolish thing to do and could have resulted in more serious injury."

Nicholson was also fined £75. He was also cautioned for an earlier incident in the game when he reacted to a high tackle "by lifting opponent off the ground to a significant height". The MRP noted the opponent was "not placed into dangerous position" but that the lifting action was unnecessary.