Ex-official explains how touch judge got James McDonnell red card wrong

Last night Leeds Rhinos star James McDonnell’s two match ban for punching was overturned by the Operational Rules Tribunal after the Rhinos appealed after no footage of the alleged punch could be found.

McDonnell was sent off against St Helens after it was determined by the touch judge that he had punched Jonny Lomax.

Now the Tribunal have explained why the ban was overturned accepting the touch judge could have been mistaken.

“We reviewed footage including a substantial amount of footage that had not been broadcast and footage which had not been seen by the Match Review Panel,” the Tribunal said.

“The player together with Matt Cook [Leeds Rhinos General Manager] took us through a detailed analysis of the footage. It showed beyond doubt that Jonny Lomax was injured and bleeding heavily before the incident involving James McDonnell.

“No punch can be seen on the footage, and it was conceded by the RFL Compliance Manager on behalf of the Match Review Panel that the footage was inconclusive. We were able to view the incident from a number of angles and did not see a punch thrown. We accept entirely that the touch judge was genuinely certain that at the time he saw a punch. However, he was not able to point out the punch on the footage. We cannot rule out the fact that he may have been genuinely mistaken and therefore cannot be satisfied to the appropriate standard that a punch was thrown and we allow the appeal.”

Now former official Richard Silverwood has explained why the touch judge likely got it wrong as he cited an “over reaction.”

“Correct decision. I’m surprised he was charged as i couldn’t see a punch thrown after several views. TJ probably sees him raising his arm but only grabs his collar and then Lomax probably catches stray finger nails from numerous players which causes the blood. Over reaction.”