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Rugby League player dies after tackle

An Australian rugby league player has died after suffering injuries in a tackle during a match.

Prop James Ackerman, 25, was treated on the pitch for head injuries sustained in a tackle in the opening five minutes of Sunshine Coast Falcons' Queensland Cup match against North Devils on Saturday.

Ackerman was transported to hospital but was unable to recover from his injuries.

James Ackerman was injured in a tackle. Credit: Sunshine Coast Falcons

QRL managing director Robert Moore said: "We send our deepest condolences to James' family and friends, and the Sunshine Coast club.

"This is obviously a very difficult and traumatic time for a considerable amount of people and we ask for the privacy of the family to be respected.

"Our immediate priority is to provide support for the family as well as the players, coaches and referees who were involved in this game."

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Salford owner hails work of coach Sheens

Tim Sheens has been helping out. Credit: PA

Salford owner Marwan Koukash has hailed the impact made on the Super League club by Australia coach Tim Sheens.

The 64-year-old Sheens has spent the last fortnight acting in an advisory capacity with the Red Devils as Koukash looks to turn the struggling outfit into a team of champions.

We have all benefited from Tim being here. Everybody, from chief executive Martin Vickers to assistant coach Ian Watson, we have all gained from his experience.

I have picked up a huge amount of ideas about what we are missing and what we can do to take the club forward.

We've talked about the type of players we should be signing, especially when the marquee player allowance comes in.

He is very passionate about the game and his knowledge is absolutely incredible. He has a vision for the sport for the next 10 years.

– Marwan Koukash speaking to PA Sport

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Rugby teams to play in honour of Alan Henning

Local rugby league rivals Salford Red Devils and Swinton will play a friendly in January, with all the proceeds going to the family of Alan Henning.

The Salford taxi driver was murdered by Islamic State at the start of October after being captured in Syria where he was delivering aid.

Alan Henning was described as a 'local hero'

All money made from the game will be donated to the Alan Henning Fund, which was set up by his family following his death.

Salford owner Marwan Koukash said: “We all have been deeply touched by the sad loss of Alan and I feel it is a fitting tribute to the wonderful work he carried out that the two rugby Clubs of Salford have combined to provide support for Alan’s family.

"From personal experience as a refugee myself, I have been the recipient of the humanitarian efforts of such wonderful people as Alan and I really do hope that this game can be a way in which the sporting teams of the City can show their gratitude and support for Alan and his family."

Burgess crowned rugby league player of the year

Burgess will now switch to playing union. Credit: PA

Sam Burgess has become the first English winner of the Rugby League International Federation's International Player of the Year Award.

Burgess, who defied a fractured eye socket and cheekbone to help South Sydney to victory in the NRL Grand Final, received the prestigious award at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane, where the 2014 Four Nations Series gets under way without him on Saturday.

The former Bradford forward will link up with Bath next week ahead of his cross-code switch, although he will not be able to make his rugby union debut until December as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in the first tackle of the match against Canterbury Bulldogs earlier this month.

RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said: "He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition."

Wigan dismiss calls to sack Flower over assault

Flower was banned for six months - the longest in Super League history. Credit: PA

Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan, has rejected calls to sack Ben Flower after he was banned for six months from playing in the Rugby Football League.

Flower punched Lance Hohaia of St Helens twice, knocking him out with the first, then throwing another as he was lying on the turf and has since received the longest ban in Super League history.

Some critics have suggested that Flower should be dismissed from his job, but Lenagan has assured the prop that his future is safe at Wigan.

"Ben Flower made a mistake and I say very clearly: ‘Let any one of us who has not made a mistake stand forward,'” Lenagan told Sky Sports News.

"That is a reason to discipline him, a reason to make sure that he suffers from it – because we as a club have suffered as well and quite rightly so because we are responsible for our players – but there is no question of us sacking Ben Flower."

Read: Police probe death threats to Flower

Police probe death threats to banned RL player Flower

Great Manchester Police are investigating after being alerted to death threats made to banned Wigan rugby league player Ben Flower Credit: PA

Greater Manchester Police is investigating death threats made to banned Wigan rugby league player Ben Flower in a series of abusive messages on Twitter.

The remarks, directed to Flower from a single account yesterday evening, included comments that the 26-year-old Welsh international "deserves to be shot" and that his "last days are approaching".

Flower was sent off in Saturday's Super League Grand Final for punching St Helens stand-off Lance Hohaia while he was motionless on the ground just two minutes into the Grand Final.

He was banned from the sport for six months yesterday.

Great Manchester Police stated on Twitter: "We've been made aware of abusive social media activity about the Rugby League Grand Final. Please be reassured that we are looking into this."

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