Last night all the focus was on one specific yellow card on a night where Blake Austin – who was one of the four players to be shown a yellow card – was the match winner late on thanks to a lovely late try in a West Yorkshire derby between Leeds and Huddersfield.
The card receiving the most attention is the one shown to Chris Hill who was sin binned when the referee judged that after the tackle he’d picked up Richie Myler and put him into a dangerous position but many believe that Myler put himself into the dangerous position.
That led to the winning try and although Ian Watson wasn’t entirely pleased with that voicing some concerns for the sport if milking penalties persists in Super League, he believed another yellow card was also a turning point.
He believed the loss of Theo Fages who received a head knock when Leroy Cudjoe scored Huddersfield’s third try was a key moment as he felt had he stayed on the field Huddersfield would have won.
“I thought for large periods we were really dominant,” Watson said, “I thought we were the better side. Apart from the first five minutes of the first half and the second half but other than that I thought we were really dominant we just needed to execute a bit better and it probably went a way a bit more when Theo went off in the last 10 minutes when you need a Theo to be fair.
“We knew we had to patient. We had a belief in us we would crack them.
“Ideally in a game like that away from home you don’t always have the rub of the green and you’ve got to be really resilient in what you’re doing.
“I think if we’d have Theo out there at the end at 14-12 I think we win the game.”
Fages did pass his HIA but Watson revealed that with the number of head knocks he’s had in his career meant they chose to protect him.
He did however feel that the balance of the incident was off with the Giants losing Fages for the rest of the game and Leeds only losing the player responsible – former Huddersfield man Aidan Sezer – for 10 minutes. He noted that if it’s direct contact with the head it should’ve been a red card.
“He passed his HIA,” Watson said, “He’s just had a few head knocks before so it’s just going along with how Theo was feeling.
“If it’s direct contact to the head, is that not a red card? We lose Theo for the rest of the game but they get a sin binning for 10 minutes. I don’t know if the balance is right there.”