Ex-St Helens player has say on Morgan Knowles appeal referencing Leeds Rhinos incident from 2008

If anyone knows what it’s like to play in a St Helens-Leeds Grand Final, it’s Jamie Foster.

The former Saints winger, who had spells at Bradford and Hull FC, started the 2011 Grand Final on the wing for the Saints and showed his goalkicking prowess with a 50 metre strike that gave the Saints a 16-8 lead which looked set to give them the trophy.

As it happened, a flurry of 24 points in 17 minutes turned the game on its head and gave Leeds the crown.

Eleven years on from that, there’s a chance for Saints to gain a measure of revenge against the Rhinos on Saturday and become the first team to win four consecutive Super League titles whilst both them and Leeds are chasing a record ninth Grand Final win.

However, the story of the game now has a new narrative threat with Morgan Knowles’ ban last night being overturned after his first appeal on Tuesday failed.

Knowles was given a ban for twisting Chris Atkin’s arm as Saints beat Salford to book their place at Old Trafford and he was given a two-match suspension which was upheld at a tribunal on Tuesday but overturned on Wednesday.

This has sparked much debate amongst fans, but for Foster it’s a case of swings and roundabouts as he referenced a similar situation 14 years ago when the same two sides met in the 2008 Grand Final.

That night Leeds defeated the Saints 24-16 to claim a second consecutive title on their way to three in a row – the record Saints are trying to topple this week.

Lee Smith played a huge role in that game with Brent Webb out injured. Smith scored Leeds’ first try of the game and later nailed a brilliant 40/20 in a moment that led to a key Danny McGuire try.

Smith however very nearly missed the game when found guilty of kicking Wigan’s Phil Bailey in the face in the semi-final in which Smith scored twice.

A ban of up to four games was a possibility but he was fined £300 for reckless striking.

To Foster, the Knowles situation is merely the Smith situation flipped on its head saying on Twitter: “Different when it was Leeds though, and Smith went on to score the winning try. So pipe down moaning will you.”

Forster has made a slight error as it was in 2009 that Smith scored the winner but in 2008 he did pick up the Harry Sunderland Award as Man of the Match having a key influence on the game.

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