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Ex-Super League official explains why a hip drop tackle can’t be a straight red card

It was confirmed on Monday 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 type of tackle, which McGillvary yesterday described as “shitty technique”, has been talked about a lot over the last few weeks with suggestions it should be a straight red card.

Answering that question on social media, former official Ian Smith explained why it can’t be a straight red card for that tackle:

“No, too hard to tell if it’s reckless or deliberate enough for it to be a certain red card offence. The MRP will discuss it between four of them for at least 15 mins before deciding on a grade so to ask one VR to make a quick judgment on a possible red card is not easy.”

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