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Revealed: Why Tribunal broke sentencing guidelines to hand Morgan Knowles huge ban

Morgan Knowles was found guilty of his Grade D charge of dangerous contract and banned for a huge five games.

He was one of two players to face the tribunal with the other being Gil Dudson of Warrington, who also was hit with a five game ban.

A statement from the RFL said:

“Forwards Gil Dudson (Warrington Wolves) and Morgan Knowles (St Helens) have both been suspended for five matches by tonight’s independent tribunals.

“Dudson was referred to tribunal by the Match Review Panel on a Grade E charge of punching a Catalans Dragons opponent during Saturday’s Betfred Super League match in Perpignan. He is also fined £500.

“The Match Review Panel had referred Knowles on a Grade D charge of dangerous contact with a Wigan Warriors player during the Good Friday derby at the DW Stadium. He too is fined £500.”

The charge against Knowles had triggered plenty of debate and was even brought into contention after Huddersfield Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary showed footage of the tackle, to one that he suffered.

The tackle in question that Knowles was found guilty of dangerous contact for resulted in the injury of Wigan man Mike Cooper, who is now out for 9-12 months.

The ban itself goes against the sentencing guidelines set out by the RFL which states a Grade D charge is worthy of a ban of 2-3 games.

Perhaps the tribunal upgraded the charge after looking at the incident more closely?

Well the answer to that has now been provided with the case notes shared by the RFL which explain the reason for the sanction:

“The Match Review Panel have removed the Penalty Notice in this instance due to the opponent sustaining a serious long-term injury where he will be out of the sport for a minimum of 9 months. The Match Review Panel believe while this offence itself is correctly graded as a Grade D; the injury surmounts to the sanction being increased outside of the usual 3 matches Mr Knowles would have received if a Penalty Notice had been issued in this case.

“The player says there was no intent to injure the opponent and is remorseful for his actions. The player states he has apologised to his opponent.

“Aggravating Factors:
20/03/23 – Dangerous Contact – 1 match
26/09/22 – Dangerous Contact – 1 match
26/08/22 – High Tackle – 1 match
15/08/22 – Shoulder Charge – 1 match
18/07/22 – Dangerous Contact – 1 match
13/06/22 – Dangerous Contact – 0 matches
04/10/21 – High Tackle – 0 matches

“Reasons for Decision:
The Tribunal are entirely satisfied that this was a reckless act. The matter has been referred to them as the Match Review Panel have withdrawn the Penalty Notice due to the injury sustained. The Tribunal agree that this has been graded correctly and these are exceptional circumstances. The Tribunal therefore determine that a 5-match suspension and a fine of £500 fine is appropriate instance.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Bazza

    April 14, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    5 games is not “huge”. Player on receiving end out for season so should have been 15 games

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