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“Absolutely bonkers” – Fans baffled as Hull FC signing cops lighter ban than Liam Watts

Franklin Pele is sent off

The first Operational Rules Tribunal of the 2024 Super League season took place last night and agreed on a number of downgraded bans including Franklin Pele of Hull FC, whilst standing firm on others

Among those to have their bans downgraded were Salford Red Devils’ full-back Ryan Brierley and Hull FC pair Ligi Sao and Franklin Pele.

Catalans Dragons forward Paul Seguier was also successful in seeing his ban downgraded, the Grade D ‘head contact’ charge dropping to a Grade C which is a one-match ban and a £250 fine.

Controversially, Liam Watts didn’t see his charge downgraded after being hit with a Grade E charge for ‘head contact’ and he will now serve four matches on the sidelines.

Watts had pled guilty to the charge of making contact with the head but had hoped for the charge to be downgraded upon assessment at the tribunal.

There have now been plenty of questions as to how Watts has landed a four-match ban for what many have deemed an unfortunate tackle technique, some even failing to see it as a red card offence, whereas Franklin Pele was hit with only three games for his swinging arm and consequent punches against Hull KR.

As always fans have taken to social media to air their grievances.

Hull FC man ‘gets off lightly’ as fans label decision ‘a joke’

Hull FC signing Franklin Pele

Hull FC signing Pele had copped a Grade E charge for contact with the head which has a suspension guideline of four to six matches and even though he was unsuccessful in his appeal the new signing only got a three-match ban.

The length of his ban falling outside the recommended guideline and more so the fact that he will serve a game less on the sidelines than Liam Watts for a deliberate attack has baffled fans.

One fan took to X to appeal to the RFL, stating: “Harry Smith – No Ban Franklin Pele – 3 match Ban Liam Watts – 4 match ban Please make it make sense @TheRFL @SuperLeague. Die hard rugby league fans don’t even like the sport anymore. The RFL is destroying Rugby League.”

Others claimed ‘incompetence’ whilst reaction to Pele’s ban being shorter than Watts proved a hot topic, one fan posting: “Less than Watts? This sport is simply a joke.”

Former Wakefield Trinity legend David Fifita even made an appeal for his former rival Liam Watts as he also took to X to react.

The Big Bopper posted: “What a joke!!! Feel for ya @Wattsy7890. These (clown emoji). I’ll call it! How much for one of those get out of jail cards, asking for a friend.”

Another shared video footage of the incidents that landed Pele his three-match ban and Watts his four-game suspension.

In respect to Pele many Hull FC fans felt the club had got lucky, with the responses to the club’s post seeing fans react in shock at the news.

One posted: “Got off lightly. Was expecting 6 games”, whilst another responded; “could have easily been six, got off lightly”.

As such Pele will now be back in time for the second Hull derby which will surely be highly-anticipated.

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