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Confirmed: St Helens star Tommy Makinson escapes ban due to loophole

St Helens Tommy Makinson in action

Despite one-match bans being handed out to St Helens Tommy Makinson and Castleford Tigers forward Liam Horne yesterday, they’re set to escape without missing a game.

The bans were handed out by the RFL Match Review Panel yesterday after they were the only two players to be given red cards in Round Eleven of Super League.

Makinson was sent off for a shoulder-to-the-head of Tex Hoy early in Saints’ huge win over Castleford Tigers.

He was handed a Grade C Head Contact charge by the panel, meaning he must sit out of a game.

Horne’s dismissal was for a dangerous tackle, which referee Jack Smith said put the opponent in a “really, really dangerous position”.

He was given a one-match Penalty Notice due to his Grade C Dangerous Throw/Lift charge.

However, neither Horne nor Makinson will miss any first-team games.

The loophole which could see St Helens and Castleford men escape bans

St Helens' Tommy Makinson, Lewis Dodd and Matt Whitley celebrate after the game at Huddersfield

Credit: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

There are no Super League fixtures this weekend, with the Challenge Cup semi-finals instead scheduled this weekend.

Castleford and St Helens are not involved, as they both lost in the quarter-finals.

That means they get a week off, but before their next Super League fixtures, there’s a round of reserves’ fixtures as usual – which can count towards their suspensions if the first team are not in action.

Serious About Rugby League have had it confirmed by the RFL that this loophole is still active, meaning the sides will almost certainly use this, as they have previously used the loophole.

A trio of Castleford players benefitted from the rule during an international break last year, with Kenny Edwards, Liam Watts and Bureta Faraimo managing to escape bans.

An example of St Helens using the rule was for Morgan Knowles, cutting his ban down to four games for a hip-drop tackle.

Therefore, it’s likely that Makinson will be lining up against Leeds Rhinos in just over a week’s time, and Castleford, in their important fixture against Hull FC, will surely be lining up with Horne in the ranks.

Wigan Warriors will be put out

Wigan Warriors' Liam Byrne listens to the referee explain his decision.

Credit: Imago Images

The other Grade C Head Contact charge given out this week was to Liam Byrne of Wigan Warriors, who was yellow-carded in the first minute of their win over Huddersfield Giants.

He will miss two games, as he’s at the higher end of the sanction grade due to his previous indiscretions.

Since Wigan are in action during the Challenge Cup semi-finals this week, they can’t use the loophole.

Therefore, despite being given the same charge as Tommy Makinson, he will miss two games, while Makinson misses zero.

However, it must be noted that the Warriors have utilised this to a huge advantage in the past.

The loophole was used to allow Bevan French, Harvie Hill and Kaide Ellis to star in their playoff semi-final last year, on their way to winning the Grand Final.

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