Ex-Super League referees correct fans over confusing incident in Leeds Rhinos and St Helens clash

We might have had Wigan Warriors hosting Leigh Leopards on Saturday but the closer nature of Friday night’s clash between St Helens and Leeds Rhinos has meant that it’s still triggering debate over certain incidents.

Compared to the two earlier meetings this season it was a relatively incident free game given that both the prior games saw red cards; Konrad Hurrell being sent for a late hit on Ritchie Myler in Saints’ 25-24 loss at the Totally Wicked, whereas James McDonnell saw red for a phantom punch in his sides’ 13-12 Headingley loss.

Controversy was expected but it didn’t really come in the game with no send offs and not even a sin binning despite an incident that saw Ritchie Myler and Morgan Knowles go head to head.

What was controversial to some fans was the nature of Leeds Rhinos’ first try with some claiming that the pass out wide the Ash Handley, who then popped it in towards Rhyse Martin, was forward however the referee and touch judge deemed it fine.

In the end the incident didn’t matter as Saints ran out as 22-18 victors courtesy of a brilliant Jack Welsby brace but it got fans talking about the momentum rule in general.

The rule effectively states that whilst a pass may travel forward, if it leaves the hands backwards then it isn’t a forward pass.

That’s because if a player is running at full pace then even if he aims the pass behind him, it will often travel forward and land in front of where he passed from causing the pass to seem forward.

Former official Richard Silverwood had to clear up one incident that had fans confused on social media with images highlighting Blake Austin looping a pass out to the left wing from approximately 12 metres out, but the ball being caught on the 10 metre line.

Silverwood’s tweet explained the law and when pressed on it he again referenced the ball’s landing spot being determined by Austin’s forward motion, hence the momentum rule.

Another former official in Ian Smith supported the statement tweeting “100% agree with this”, which prompted a joking response from Silverwood.