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“He is not a dirty player” – Watson stunned by Yates appeal decision

Salford head coach Ian Watson admitted it would be criminal if Luke Yates remains suspended ahead of their Challenge Cup semi-final with Warrington on Saturday.

The Red Devils edged the Wolves 20-18 in the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night at the AJ Bell stadium as both clubs fielded very young teams for the clash.

Earlier in the day, it was announced that Dan Sarginson had his two-match ban overturned by the RFL Disciplinary, however, while Salford were in action in the evening, Luke Yates had his one-match ban upheld.

Despite the verdict, Watson revealed that they will appeal again tomorrow after he was unable to attend the hearing of the Australian forward.

“It was just a pure accident and to miss a semi-final on the back of that would be criminal for the amount of work he does for this team,” said Watson.

“I brought Luke to the club because he gave minimal penalties away and made minimal errors, so he is not a dirty player. He plays the game tough but fairly as well.

“I thought the appeal would have been quite straightforward today to be fair.

“I think they brought our case forward because we had the game tonight so we could get Dan’s and Luke’s in but Dan’s was quite a lengthy one and obviously, we got through that.

“Then the judge announced he had to leave. We had no problem with that so Ian Blease and Luke Yates only attended that one.

“I would have liked to have been there but I had to make sure I was at the game.

“It is a big one for us. Having Dan Sarginson back, and we will probably appeal Luke Yates’ [suspension] on Wednesday as well.

“The first appeal on Luke Yates was always going to be today. We have kind of challenged the sentencing and charge on it.

“They think it was enough to withhold it but we are still not happy with that.”

Despite their week so far being somewhat marred by these suspensions, Watson was impressed by the efforts of the youngsters on show tonight from both sides.

Warrington, who fielded a much more inexperienced team, raced into an 18-0 lead at the AJ Bell Stadium, before Salford scored 20 unanswered points to win the game.

Speaking on the game, Watson said: “A win is a win. I was really excited for this game for a few reasons.

“One reason was young Luis Roberts, a local lad, the first one to play for Salford for a long time. I thought he did great.

“He did not even train with us. He has been waiting for his test results to come through and getting all of his paper work cleared.

“The Warrington boys trained together a lot. I thought they were really good. They kind of accepted the challenge of our big men of Pauli Pauli and Sebastine Ikahihifo and had a really good dig.

“I was really impressed with Warrington, they even scrambled about for each other in defence too.”

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