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“He’s lucky”: Catalans man avoids red but set for ban after St Helens high shot, claims Sky pundit

St Helens and Catalans scrap

Sky Sports pundit Sam Tomkins has claimed that Catalans Dragons forward Franck Maria will be copping a ban after his yellow card for a shot on St Helens’ George Delaney.

Catalans had travelled to England to take on St Helens with the Red Vee looking to put breathing space between themselves and Challenge Cup finalists Wigan and Warrington at the top of Super League.

For Catalans, they were aiming to get back to winning ways and also pull level with the leading trio of Saints, Wigan and Wire.

The match marked the second meeting between St Helens and Catalans after last year’s dramatic playoff semi-final that saw Sam Tomkins dance through in the 79th minute to end Saints ‘Drive for Five’.

Earlier this season, Saints had lost in Perpignan 14-8. That win marked the fifth in a row in this fixture for the French side, something the Saints were aiming to stop.

That mission got off to a bad start as Tom Johnstone scored in the corner when he latched onto Jordan Abdull’s kick, something that was cancelled out by Konrad Hurrell after a smart Jack Welsby pass.

Those tries sandwiched one of the flashpoints of the first half when Tariq Sims landed a huge swinging arm on St Helens prop George Delaney, busting the prop’s nose and outraging the crowd at The Totally Wicked Stadium.

Sims stayed on the pitch but Franck Maria wasn’t as lucky later in the half when he whacked Delaney, wrapping his arm around the head but only being yellow-carded.

Referee Aaron Moore explained that there was “mitigation” with the initial contact being with Delaney’s back before riding up, and now the Sky Sports pundits have had their say too.

Quiz: Can you name these St Helens players from the last 10 years?

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St Helens youngster gets hit with a “three-wood golf swing”

Franck Maria got a yellow card against St Helens

Credit: Imago Images

The shot on Delaney certainly increased the atmosphere at The Totally Wicked Stadium and it meant that a chorus of boos rung out at the end of the half as the St Helens’ faithful made it clear that they weren’t in agreement with referee Aaron Moore.

Sky Sports pundit Sam Tomkins has now had his say on the matter, claiming that Aaron Moore’s decision was the right one but that Maria will be sitting out a game with a ban.

Tomkins said: “I’d agree with it. The first contact is with the back of the shoulder. He’s not gone direct to the head but there’s no doubt he does make contact but as he swings his arm, he catches him on the shoulder before then going up to the head.

“It’s not a nice tackle, it’s a nasty tackle and I think he’ll catch a ban off the back of it.”

Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan added: “It’s a golf swing with a three wood and he’s lucky that he didn’t catch him straight on the head otherwise he might have had a few weeks sat out.

“I agree with the referee though, by the letter of the law it’s a yellow but you’ve got to keep the aggression under control.”

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