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Explaining why one St Helens forward was cited four times without charge

Friday night’s televised fixture between St Helens and Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked was a highly charged affair with Saints heading into the game after an emotional week that included a Challenge Cup semi-final loss and some major injuries as well.

The Red Vee knew though that a win would take them level with rivals Wigan Warriors, at least until Matt Peet’s side got a chance to play on Saturday anyway.

Add into the mix that Saints and Leeds matches are also intense and you had all the ingredients for an electric night of Super League action.

Unfortunately what we got wasn’t quite electric in terms of quality and skill as teams, but more so the individual moments with Jack Welsby breaking the game open and helping Saints get over the line.

What we got instead was a game of huge intensity, what Rohan Smith described in his presser as a match of ‘high quality in terms of competitiveness if not in standard’.

That was evident from early on with the first half also seeing a big coming together in back field between Morgan Knowles and Richie Myler who both went head to head with one another.

A stern warning from Liam Moore settled that down but there were still plenty of action, as evidenced by one man landing four citations by the Match Review Panel in their minutes.

Despite being mentioned four times James Bell, St Helens’ second-rower, didn’t land himself a charge never mind a ban.

Bell’s first citation came early in the match for ‘Late contact on the passer’.

He avoided any charge on this due to the fact he ‘tackled the opponent around the waist and took them to the ground’, therefore not in a dangerous manner.

The next incident was one that got plenty on social media talking as it saw Bell use a technique comparable to the one his boss had bemoaned John Asiata for using.

Bell dived down low towards the knees and ankle region of the ball carrier stopping him in his tracks but the Match Review Panel deemed it not worthy of a charge.

They labelled it as Dangerous Contact but stated: “Player drives forward to make legitimate tackle on opponent who is moving and contacts the opponent around the ankles.”

Another ‘late contact on the passer’ incident was noted but it’s stated that footage was “inconclusive as to whether there is flexion to the head or neck of the opponent”.

Bells fourth and final citation came again for dangerous contact and it was once again for tackling below the waist, but it was deemed “legitimate contact with the upper thigh of the opponent”.

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