RFL launch investigation after Widnes Vikings and Swinton Lions controversy

The Rugby Football League has appointed an independent investigator into accusations made against Swinton Lions and their coach, Alan Kilshaw. Widnes Vikings player Nick Gregson has alleged that a photo of himself featuring a noose around his neck was displayed in the Swinton Lions dressing room on Sunday, captioned with the words "bully him".

Gregson went on to allege that Kilshaw had been shouting at his players to target his shoulder. The former Wigan Warriors player received an injury to his shoulder during the game and has expressed fears that his season is now over.

In a statement posted on X, Gregson said: “I gave blood, sweat and tears for years for Swinton and was a big part of keeping them in the Championship last season and this is what’s in the dressing room from the coach Alan Kilshaw along with targeting my injured shoulder which he kept shouting in the game I’ve been told.

“I am probably done for the 2024 season now after it (the injury) coming out again today and maybe even my time at Widnes, who knows.

“But I go out to provide for my family and enjoy myself with my mates, to see a picture of me with a noose around my neck and have the coach of a club I have given a lot to openly want to injure me and probably other players also is outrageous."

Swinton, who won the game 24-12 to move out of the relegation zone, have "refuted the accuracy" of the claims, confirming they have now contacted their solicitors.

In a statement, they said: "Swinton Lions RLFC is aware of serious allegations made by Widnes player Nick Gregson. We refute the accuracy of these allegations and we are in contact with the RFL and our solicitors. No further comment will be made at this time."

Widnes are coached by former Lions coach Allan Coleman, who left the club to join the Vikings ahead of the current season. Kilshaw, who has previously coached Rochdale and Hornets, was appointed as his replacement in the off-season.

Releasing their own statement, Widnes said: "Widnes Vikings can confirm that following information on social media tonight regarding Nick Gregson, we have made a formal complaint to the RFL, who have acknowledged it and are launching a full investigation.

"The club is 100% behind Nick and is offering him whatever support he needs. In view of the now ongoing investigation, the club will be making no further comment."

Gregson previously played for Swinton, leaving the club in the off-season alongside Coleman. He made 15 appearances for Wigan at the start of his career and has also played for Leigh Leopards and Oldham.

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