Going into last year’s Grand Final with Leeds Rhinos, St Helens made unusual headlines and those same headlines have surfaced again as they battle with Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards for a spot in the top two and a home semi-final in the play-offs.
Like with Morgan Knowles ahead of the Grand Final last year, St Helens twice appealed Matty Lees’ ban rising from the game against Huddersfield Giants that would see the prop miss the games against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers.
Lees was handed a two match ban for a high tackle against Huddersfield Giants last week in a controversial moment that saw Joe Greenwood sent off for the Giants.
The Saints appealed this on Tuesday but after that failed they appealed again last night.
Many questioned why but the Saints said that the RFL had made “an error in law” which was the reason behind their appeal whilst they had also “failed to act fairly in a procedural sense.”
The club made 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.”