It was confirmed tonight that Warrington Wolves star Paul Vaughan would have his four game ban upheld after the prop failed in his appeal against the charge he picked up versus St Helens.
Vaughan had been hit with a Grade E charge of ‘making unnecessary contact with a potentially injured player’ when he was seen to grab Sione Mata’utia’s shirt during a play the ball late on during Wire’s Friday night loss.
The incident went unpunished at the time but was picked up by the Match Review Panel who ordered Vaughan to face the Operational Rules Tribunal on Tuesday night, who found him guilty citing the fact that no player need touch another given the risk of injury.
His failed appeal tonight now confirms that he will miss the final game of the season against Huddersfield Giants and any potential playoff games, including the Grand Final should Warrington make it that far.
The decision to uphold the charge has seen fans take to social media to ridicule the charge and the disciplinary board, whom some have labelled ‘not fit for purpose’.
In response to a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, in which the RFL confirmed the failed appeal, fans were outraged in the responses.
One claimed: “The game has gone, not fit for purpose.”
That was the thoughts of many: “Sack the RFL tribunal as it’s not fit for purpose,” whilst another cited this as evidence of the sport’s decline: “No wonder the sport is collapsing with administration like this.”
Some others though felt that it showed consistency, particularly given that Hull KR captain Shaun Kenny Dowall copped a four game ban for the same offence earlier in the season.
They questioned: “What was the basis of the appeal? Matautia admitted he was just running the clock down? Had Vaughan had that confirmed when he pulled him up? No? So he did actually pull up a player he couldn’t be certain wasn’t hurt? So he’s guilty? And this has happened to others equally?”
That was one of many posts that referenced Mata’utia’s email to the disciplinary panel, the Saints star having provided evidence in support of Vaughan that he was not in fact injured, but simply timewasting – something the tribunal deemed irrelevant given that Vaughan couldn’t have possibly had that knowledge.
Others felt it should have changed matters though: “What a utterly disgraceful verdict the player who admitted he was running clock Dow goes scott free.”
Mata’utia getting away with it was echoed by others: “Rugby finished 1 cheats the other gets 4 match ban.”