On Monday Morgan Knowles was given a one match ban after a late hit and “dangerous contact” against Hull FC.
Following this on Tuesday St Helens challenged the suspension ahead of their trip to take on Huddersfield Giants.
Their appeal was unsuccessful meaning Knowles will miss the game and was also given a further £500 fine.
Now though an in depth look at St Helens’ case has been revealed by the RFL.
Here is the defence they made on Tuesday night:
“Player in attendance alongside Mike Rush (CEO) and Paul Wellens (Head Coach). Player pleads Guilty but challenges the grading.
“Rush explained that they had looked at incidents over the same weekend and felt there were instances that saw Grade A or even no charge brought against the respective players. He felt the issue was subjective.
“Knowles did not make contact to the head of the opponent and the tackle was not high or dangerous. The club did however agree that it was late.
“Rush felt that is was not illegal for Knowles to run at a fast speed out of the line and he has the right to do so. Knowles made contact a ¼ second after the opponent had released the ball and if you watch footage of any incident in slow motion it looks worse. Knowles did not swing his arm and did not shoulder charge the opponent. The club feel this was careless and not reckless.
“On contact the ball had not reached the opponents teammate and the opponent is expecting contact as both players are facing each other “square on”. The opponent did not need to receive any medical treatment. Rush added that collisions are going to happen as part of the game.
“Wellens agreed that the contact was late and the technique used by Knowles was good should the opponent have remained in possession of the ball. He re-iterated that the club felt this was careless.
“Rush concluded that the club had thought carefully about whether to challenge the penalty notice. They have had three players suspended already this season and are supportive of the stance the game is taking in relation in these circumstances.”
Here is why the RFL maintained the same charge and punishment:
“The Tribunal are in agreement that there is clear contact after the ball has gone. Contact is with the shoulder of the player to the upper body of the opponent, who was facing his colleague to whom he had passed the ball.
“It is urged upon us that the speed is irrelevant to this charge and that it is only ¼ second between the opponent passing the ball and contact with the player, however, this cannot in our view significantly lessen the seriousness of the offence because it is also submitted that it is that unchecked speed that has led to contact after the ball has gone but which has prevented the player taking any action to prevent significant flexion to the opponent’s head. It is clear to the Tribunal that the player made no attempt to mitigate the contact either by reducing his speed or by altering the way contact was made.
“There is a duty to play the game safely – simply continuing at such pace without any attempt to reduce that speed or to alter the method of contact by wrapping his arms or cushioning the contact gives rise to an obvious risk that there could be contact with the opponent who is in a vulnerable position having passed the ball.
“Accordingly, we consider this action to be reckless – and the challenge to the penalty notice is dismissed.
“The player will therefore be suspended for 1-match as outlined in the imposed Penalty Notice. The player will also be fined £500 and the club will forfeit the £500 bond that was lodged to bring the challenge.”
Morel of the story, don’t appeal, if they change the charge or punishment, it signifies they made the wrong Discussion in the first place. Plus it’s cost the player + club £1000.