St Helens issue statement following second failed Matty Lees appeal

St Helens took on Huddersfield Giants in a controversial clash last week which cost them a key player ahead of their games against Hull KR and Castleford Tigers in the next fortnight as they battle with the likes of Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards for a spot in the top two and a home semi-final in the play-offs.

Compounding the loss of Agnatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley through season ending injuries, the Saints are without star forward Matty Lees for the next two after he received a two match ban for a high tackle.

The Saints chose to appeal the decision last night but the appeal was turned down but Saints felt like they still had a case and a second appeal was launched today.

This again was overturned and following this, 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.”