As St Helens battle with Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards for a spot in the top two and a home semi-final in the Super League play-offs but they were struck a blow after their clash with Huddersfield Giants and going into the games against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers.
Having already lost Agnatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley to season ending injuries, they have now lost Matty Lees to a two match ban for a high tackle against the Giants.
It was appealed twice by the Saints. They exercised their right to appeal on Tuesday night at an operational rules tribunal but failed.
However, they felt like their was an error in the tribunal and thus appealed the decision again on Wednesday night which again failed.
Many questioned why Lees wasn’t given a further match ban for a frivolous appeal. However, the second appeal cannot be deemed “frivolous” according to the RFL.
Meanwhile, it was an option for the first appeal but wasn’t deemed necessary.
After last night’s appeal, St Helens released the following statement.
“St Helens have been unsuccessful in appealing against the decision made by the Operational Rules Tribunal on Tuesday night that Matty Lees should be suspended for two matches and fined £500. The Club’s appeal was rejected, meaning that the punishment will stand.
“Lees was issued a Grade C ‘High Tackle’ charge following the Saints’ victory over Huddersfield Giants on Sunday afternoon by the Match Review Panel on Monday.
“On Tuesday night the Club appeared before the Operational Rules Tribunal to plead ‘Not Guilty’, but the independent tribunal upheld the Match Review Panel’s decision.
“The Club’s then lodged an appeal on Wednesday night which was based on the fact that we believe the Operational Rules Tribunal made an error of law in its decision or failed to act fairly in a procedural sense. This appeal was rejected, meaning Lees’ punishment stands and will rule Saints’ #10 out of the next two Betfred Super League matches; firstly against Hull KR at home and then Castleford Tigers away.
“St Helens R.F.C. stands by the decision to appeal but accepts the process is now over and we look forward to our upcoming match against Hull KR at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday night.
“Paul Wellens has initially named a 20-man squad for the Round 22 fixture, subject to the Club’s appeal, the Saints can now confirm that completing our squad declaration will be #34 – Wesley Bruines.”