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“A laughing stock” – John Asiata escapes ban confusing and angering fans

Leigh Leopards' John Asiata claps

John Asiata was sin-binned after just 41 seconds on Friday night against St Helens the RFL’s Match Review Panel has adjudged that no ban will be handed to the Leigh Leopards’ skipper.

It was a hotly-anticipated meeting between Saints and Leigh as it marked the first time since last year’s Challenge Cup semi-final that John Asiata would line up against the Red Vee.

That semi-final sparked huge controversy with Paul Wellens labelling the Leigh captain as “out of control” for his tackle technique that saw four St Helens’ stars injured.

It wasn’t long before that same tackle technique emerged on Friday night with Asiata sent to the bin for his low tackle on Sione Mata’utia within one minute of play.

The fallout from that game saw Sky Sports pundit Jon Wilkin label Asiata as a “circus clown”, whilst Leigh head coach Adrian Lam claimed that his captain was sent to the bin to “prove a point”.

Regardless of the side of the argument that fans fell upon, many were awaiting the results of the Match Review Panel and surprisingly for many no further action was taken against Asiata.

The RFL’s charge sheet simply read: “Grade A Dangerous Contact – Not applicable”.

As such, fans are now left angered and questioning what does warrant a ban with many venting their frustrations via X or Facebook.

“Wait till he cripples someone” – Fans furious that John Asiata escaped ban

John Asiata

Fans noted that Asiata’s technique hadn’t changed much since that infamous game against Saints last year, with one fan even using the same terms that Wellens used at the time in regard to blowing an opponent’s knee “into smithereens”.

Another on X made a similar point in regard to the danger that other players were set to incur due to the controversial technique.

That was a thought that was echoed quite a lot with one fan claiming the situation hadn’t been handled well, even suggesting John Asiata was out to “end someone’s career”.

Whilst Asiata’s technique is certainly questionable, and one that as Derek Beaumont explained puts Asiata at risk of injury too, he’s an outstanding professional who wouldn’t wish harm on others.

That said, the technique may need amending despite the avoidance of injury or ban this time.

One fan noted that the Match Review Panel’s stance of ‘no further action’ undermines Liam Moore’s actions on the night and sets a dangerous precedent.

Replying to a Serious About Rugby League article, one fan asked: “How the f**k can a dangerous, deliberate tackling technique targeting a players knees/lower legs not warrant a ban (which he should have also received last season for what he did in the semi final)? The rfl really are making themselves out to be a laughing stock at this time. Accidental head contacts result in players receiving bans for single/multiple games but going directly for the players knees is ok? And he has previous for this against both saints and other teams and somehow avoided suspension…..”

Another suggested reasons why it wasn’t a ban, stating: “Mitigating factors – wasn’t mid air, first contact above knee, matautia jumps, he wraps. Basically it’s only just a dangerous tackle therefore lowest grade and sin bin sufficient. The main concern is concussion. Thats why anything to do with the head is punished and hurrell has been reprimanded as it was wreckless, no attempt to dip hardly any wrap.”

Konrad Hurrell of St Helens was banned for one game for making head contact, an event that went unpunished at the time, unlike Asiata’s tackle.

Despite not receiving a ban it’s doubtful that John Asiata will be seen on the field for a long time anyway with the Leigh man suffering an injury minutes after returning to the field.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Monaghan

    March 5, 2024 at 10:27 am

    So a player is running onto a ball 10 yards out only you can stop him by taking his legs no legs no move that is what we were taught so in future just let him score

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