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FINGERS CROSSED FOR KO'D BROWN; Stand-off injury spotted on social media but he could be fit; ENGLAND 36 PNG 6 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL, MELBOURNE.

Byline: FROM GARETH WALKER Rugby Lge Correspondent in Melbourne

ENGLAND are hopeful standoff Kevin Brown will be cleared to play in Saturday's semifinal with Tonga after a bizarre concussion incident that only became apparent to officials on social media.

Brown took two heavy blows to the head from the Papua New Guinea defence 25 minutes into the first half, but played on after convincing medical staff he was fit to continue.

The World Cup's touchline replay system was not working at the time to view the incident again, and Brown showed no signs of concussion to either the England or tournament doctor on the field.

But Wayne Bennett revealed a non-playing member of the squad, whom the coach refused to identify, later showed the team doctor a clip on social media. It revealed one piece of evidence of a category one concussion - the lowest grading - which was not taking protective action when falling to the ground.

Once the doctor had seen the video he made the decision to withdraw Brown at half-time, despite the stand-off 's insistence he could play on.

The 33-year-old, who has a history of concussion, will now go through the official tournament protocol this week, with Bennett maintaining he could face Tonga.

Coach Bennett (right) said: "I don't think he'll be doubtful. It will be up to the league - he's got to go through a whole load of procedures now, concussion tests and, if he passes them, he'll be fine.

When England held on to the ball, there was a major positive for Bennett in the blossoming right-side partnership between Kallum Watkins and Jermaine McGillvary.

Both finished with doubles, with each supplying the final pass for their respective tries, and man of the match Watkins pro-produced some sublime moments with ball in hand.

Other England tries were scored by impressive substitutes Alex Walmsley and Ben Currie plus left-winger Ryan Hall, with Castleford-bound Garry Lo providing the Kumuls' only response.

But the handling errors that have blighted their World Cup campaign were again evident for much of the game.

Scrum-half Luke Gale said: "We know what they are capable of. We expect a tough physical battle but we will recover from this one and move on."


SEEING DOUBLE A groggy stand-off Kevin Brown is treated for his injury in Melbourne yesterday

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 20, 2017
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