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Is George Williams at risk of missing whole Tonga series – Latest appeal explained

Warrington Wolves star George Williams

As Warrington Wolves star George Williams watches on as former club Wigan Warriors contest the Grand Final against Catalans Dragons, he will be waiting anxiously for his appeal on Tuesday.

Williams is contesting his two game ban which was increased for a frivolous appeal.

After a failed appeal which was deemed frivolous and increased his ban, Williams is appealing the ban again.

Some have suggested this will see him miss the whole series but this kind of appeal cannot be deemed frivolous.

Williams was initially hit with a one match ban for a shoulder charge following his Wire side’s play-off loss to St Helens, something that he contested.

That appeal therefore meant that the case went before the Operational Rules Tribunal who heard the case on Tuesday night, faced with determining if England’s captain was guilty of his Grade B charge.

Also at appeal that night was Saints’ Matty Lees on the same charge of a Grade B shoulder charge.

Luckily for Lees he was successful in his appeal and saw the charge downgraded to Grade A and a £250 fine, whereas Williams wasn’t so lucky.

The tribunal ruled against the appeal and even added a further game ban, meaning Williams will now miss two of the three Tonga tests, on account of the appeal being deemed frivolous.

Williams will now appeal that once again, as confirmed to Serious About Rugby League by the RFL, with the Warrington man set to face off at appeal once again.

The minutes for the initial hearing this past Tuesday have also been released which detail the reason why an extra game was added to Williams’ ban.

They read as follows:

“The MRP argue that this was forceful contact by Mr Williams using an illegal tackle technique, namely with the shoulder.

“Mr Williams makes no effort to moderate his behaviour or the point of contact. The contact was forceful and there was flexion of the head and neck of the opponent. As such his actions were reckless and the grading of the charge is Grade B.

“Mr Chambers argued on behalf of the player that this was an unavoidable collision. The opponent made his way directly towards Mr Williams and Mr Williams did not alter his course, whilst the reason Mr Williams did not seek to make a fair and legal tackle was that at this time, he was carrying an injury which makes it impossible for him to raise his arm and wrap it in any way.

“The Tribunal are in agreement that this argument holds little sway with them. If a player is forced into making illegal tackles because of an ongoing injury then he should not in our view be playing in the game. The safety of an opponent is paramount.

“In this instance – Mr Williams could have taken avoiding action even if he could not tackle properly and he did not do so. Such action as leading with the shoulder into an opponent creates an obvious risk of a dangerous collision and consequent injury and therefore, we are reasonably satisfied that this was a reckless act. The grading at Grade B is appropriate in this instance and the challenge to the penalty notice is therefore dismissed.

“Furthermore, the Tribunal feel that this charge was always one which should be charged at Grade B. With that in mind the challenge can only be seen as frivolous. Accordingly, the suspension is therefore increased by a further match.”

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