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Swinton Lions “refute accuracy” of Nick Gregson image and ‘in contact’ with solicitors

Swinton Lions Nick Gregson

Following the clash between Swinton Lions and Widnes Vikings yesterday, Widnes player Nick Gregson alleged that underhand tactics to deliberately injure him were encouraged by Lions’ head coach Alan Kilshaw who he claimed had circulated an image displaying a noose around Gregson’s neck.

The extraordinary allegations came from Nick Gregson himself as he took to social media to call out his former boss, the 28-year-old having spent a number of seasons with the Lions including last year. Gregson alleged that there had been encouragement prior to and during the game for Swinton players to target his shoulder.

Whether those tactics were heeded or not is unclear, but Nick Gregson also confirmed that he has suffered yet another shoulder injury and will be “probably done for the 2024 season now”.

The most shocking allegation revolved around an image of a headshot of Gregson with a noose around his neck captioned “Bully him”, something that has drawn widespread criticism but since been refuted by Swinton Lions.

Swinton Lions refute Nick Gregson claim

Nick Gregson playing for Swinton Lions

Credit: Imago Images

Widnes Vikings were quick to support Nick Gregson as they confirmed that they had reported the incident to the RFL but Swinton hit back quickly too.

Taking to social media, they responded: “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.”

That post has been seen over 120,000 times in under 12 hours and has drawn even further criticism from fans across the game as well as current and former players.

Much of that response has seen confusion about how the club have grounds to “refute the accuracy” of such an image, given that it has been posted online for all to see. At the time of writing, the post by Nick Gregson including the image has been seen a whopping 440,000 times and shared over 350 times, just on X.

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How Rugby League reacted to vile allegations

Widnes Vikings Nick Gregson noose

Credit: Imago Images

Among those to share Gregson’s post was former Swinton Lions player Chris Atkin who claimed the alleged actions are not those of “the club I knew and represented”.

Hull KR star Oliver Gildart also reacted, posting: “What a disgrace that idiot is”, presumably in reference to Alan Kilshaw who Nick Gregson names in his original post.

Gidart continued: “No times for clowns like that. Wannabe tough coach, never done anything good in the game. Speedy recovery Nick Gregson, hope you’re back out there doing your thing soon.”

He also reacted to Swinton’s post refuting the claims, simply posting “no wonder the sports on its arse”.

Ex-Super League and current Oldham player Jordan Turner shared Gregson’s message to claim that it was “apparently not the first time this club has done that this year”.

Former England international and regular pundit on Sky Sports, Paul Cooke, was another who seemingly couldn’t believe the allegations as he claimed in disgust: “This just isn’t rugby league.”

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