Revealed: What touch judge’s report said on controversial red card to Leeds star

On Tuesday night it was confirmed that James McDonnell had won his appeal.

The Leeds Rhinos second-row was suspended for two games for a Grade D charge for punching.

This came after a pile in against St Helens in which McDonnell and Jonny Lomax the epi-centre of the altercation.

The explanation for this ban being overturned comes from the RFL.

It was stated:

“We directed ourselves in accordance with the appropriate burden and standard of proof namely that the Compliance Manager bears the burden of proof and has to establish that the misconduct has occurred to the reasonable satisfaction of the tribunal bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation. The standard of proof is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“We reviewed footage including a substantial amount of footage that had not been broadcast and footage which had not been seen by the Match Review Panel.

“The player together with Matt Cook [Leeds Rhinos General Manager] took us through a detailed analysis of the footage. It showed beyond doubt that Jonny Lomax was injured and bleeding heavily before the incident involving James McDonnell.

“No punch can be seen on the footage, and it was conceded by the RFL Compliance Manager on behalf of the Match Review Panel that the footage was inconclusive.  We were able to view the incident from a number of angles and did not see a punch thrown.  We accept entirely that the touch judge was genuinely certain that at the time he saw a punch. However, he was not able to point out the punch on the footage. We cannot rule out the fact that he may have been genuinely mistaken and therefore cannot be satisfied to the appropriate standard that a punch was thrown and we allow the appeal.”

Now the touch judge, who is now believed to have been mistaken, has had his report on the incident published by the RFL.

It reads:

“Leeds Rhinos number 19 James McDonnell made a direct punch to the head against St Helens number 6 Jonny Lomax. This occurred approximately 10m from the St Helens goal line and 10 m in from touch. I had a clear view of the incident. The incident occurred in the 77th minute. The score at the time of the incident was 12-12.”