Last week it was confirmed that Wigan Warriors star Mike Cooper’s season was over early due to injury.
This came after a tackle from Morgan Knowles in the Good Friday derby against St Helens and last night Knowles was found guilty of his Grade D charge of dangerous contract and banned for a huge five games.
A statement from the RFL said:
“Forwards Gil Dudson (Warrington Wolves) and Morgan Knowles (St Helens) have both been suspended for five matches by tonight’s independent tribunals.
“Dudson was referred to tribunal by the Match Review Panel on a Grade E charge of punching a Catalans Dragons opponent during Saturday’s Betfred Super League match in Perpignan. He is also fined £500.
“The Match Review Panel had referred Knowles on a Grade D charge of dangerous contact with a Wigan Warriors player during the Good Friday derby at the DW Stadium. He too is fined £500.”
The charge against Knowles had triggered plenty of debate and was even brought into contention after Huddersfield Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary showed footage of the tackle, to one that he suffered.
The tackle in question that Knowles was found guilty of dangerous contact and resulted in the injury of Cooper, who is now out for 9-12 months.
This worked against Knowles at the tribunal with serious injury considered under the aggravating factors when looking at an offence.
The RFL’s mitigating and aggravating factors read:
“Injury can be used by the MRP (and consequently by the ORT) when considering appropriate grading in order to assess the degree of force and as an indication of the point of contact by a player when effecting a tackle. Foe example, if a player sustain a serious injury which results in a period of time away from the game as a result of misconduct, this may mean the grading is increased.”
However, former Sky Sports commentator Stevo believed it should be taken further and a 10 game ban should be issued when a season ending injury occurs:
“Why can’t they bring something in and say that if a player is out for the rest of the season then the player that’s done that gets 10 games? Simple.”
That said, his former Sky commentator Eddie Hemmings suggested that this was wrong: “I’m sure no player goes out with the intention of causing an opposition player an injury that would end his season. If you put the sentence massive against that sort of injury then you’re almost saying that it’s premediated and I don’t think that was the case.”