Paul Wellens says that Sam Walters incident got inside his side’s heads

Last night there were some key decisions as Leeds Rhinos beat St Helens.

At 24-all, Saints forced a drop out and Sam Walters hit Matty Lees with a thunderous challenge.

Jack Welsby then started a pushing match feeling that the tackle was illegal and replays suggested it could have been a shoulder charge.

That was the view of Jon Wilkin on Sky Sports after initially believing the tackle to be fair.

He said:

“You can’t do that. That is a shoulder charge. I apologise to Jack Welsby, that is a shoulder charge.

“That is a step too far, he will be lucky to still be on the field. At first I thought he had wrapped the arm but it was Cameron Smith who had done that.

“When Matty Lees is coming at you like that, you have to wrap your arm around.”

Everyone was preparing for Tommy Makinson to have a shot at goal till Chris Kendall ruled that it wasn’t a shoulder charge, giving Leeds a penalty for Welsby’s involvement in a crucial moment that helped turn the game.

Barrie McDermott then said: “I think he has got that wrong, for me it is a shoulder charge.”

Before Wilkin described it as a shocking decision: “That is a shocker. That’s not a shoulder charge? I called it from up here that it looked like a fair challenge so I get it, but having seen it a few times are you tell me it is not a shoulder charge?

“Saints will be fuming with that decision.”

Wilkin is a former Saint and his former teammate is the man in charge at St Helens Paul Wellens.

Wellens was a bit more amicable about the decision but did say he wants clarity about what is a shoulder charge.

When asked if Walters should have been sent off, Wellens said on Sky Sports: “Potentially, it is whether you deem it as a shoulder charge or not. We speak about discipline and in other areas like players not responding positively enough to things not going our way.

“I don’t want to make excuses.”

Asked if it was a shoulder charge, he said:

“I need to get some clarity this week on what is and isn’t because we have players who like to be physical and tackle that way so if that’s allowed then great.”

Then on Saints TV, when asked if the incident got inside his side’s heads, he said: “Yes, potentially. There were clear signs of frustration there throughout the game but that’s probably one of those areas where we need to be better, to handle that frustration better.

“We need to channel that frustration in a positive way, rather than the response we got which is very unlike us normally.”

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