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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Community service for rugby star
Hull's Paul Cooke
Cooke's punishment has been deferred for six months
Super League player Paul Cooke has been sentenced to community service after admitting two assault charges in Hull city centre in December, 2005.

The Hull FC player was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work.

A club statement said Cooke, 25, accepted his behaviour was unacceptable and had apologised.

The club said both they and the Rugby Football League would now deal with the player using their own respective disciplinary procedures.

The club statement went on: "We understand from remarks made in court that Paul's behaviour at the time of the incident was totally out of character and the incident was instigated by others.

"Paul wishes to apologise for the embarrassment he has caused to himself, his family and his club.

"Hull FC will continue to do all we can to ensure that our players are continually aware of their responsibilities."

The court appearance came two days before the most important match in the club's Super League history, Friday's final eliminator against defending champions Bradford at the KC Stadium.

Hull, who are just 80 minutes away from a first-ever appearance in the Grand Final, said the court hearing and subsequent sentence, which has been deferred for six months, would not affect Cooke's appearance against the Bulls.

"We only hope positively," said Hull chief executive David Plummer. "We thought the case was due to be heard in December but now it has been resolved much earlier than that."

Cooke was named in Great Britain's stand-by squad for the Tri-Nations Series after an impressive season in which he has so far scored 176 points for his club.

The decision to hear the case on Wednesday removed any doubt over his availability for the tour.

He could be called on to travel to Australia for Britain's warm-up game in Newcastle on October 20 and may yet win a cap if the 25-man squad is hit by injuries over the next 10 days.


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