AN AMATEUR rugby league player who punched an opponent in the face during a match in Keighley has been warned to expect a jail sentence.

Omar Al Rawi broke Owen Palmer's cheekbone in a heated off-the-ball incident during a match at the St John's Road ground in Utley, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Al Rawi, 25, was playing for Queens Amateur Rugby League Football Club, based in Leeds, when he attacked Mr Palmer, 21, of Keighley ARLFC, on April 19 last year.

Al Rawi, of Raynel Approach, Lawnswood, Leeds, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Palmer grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutor Alisha Kaye said he delivered a single punch after a fracas had broken out elsewhere on the pitch.

Mr Palmer needed surgery to insert a metal plate into the right-hand side of his face.

He still suffered blurred vision, the court was told.

"It was a heat of the moment incident during a physical game," Miss Kaye said.

Judge David Hatton QC adjourned sentence until March 4 for the preparation of a report from the probation service.

Sean Smith, Al Rawi's solicitor advocate, said he had no previous convictions.

Judge Hatton told Al Rawi: "It is a case that, if I were dealing with it, would inevitably result in a sentence of imprisonment but I would consider very seriously if it needed to be served immediately."