St Helens say RFL “failed to act fairly” in first Matty Lees appeal

In similar fashion to the Morgan Knowles appeal before the Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos last year, St Helens issued a second appeal for Matty Lees’ two match tonight as they battle with Wigan Warriors and Leigh Leopards for a place in the top two and a home semi-final.

The Saints have already lost Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi to long term injury ending their seasons which only exacerbates the loss of Lees to suspension.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why Saints were so eager to appeal the ban rising for a high tackle from the club’s win over Huddersfield Giants, a game where he was the only player banned despite a yellow and red card for Huddersfield players.

The Saints have now explained why they made a second appeal saying they felt the initial tribunal “failed to fact fairly in a procedural sense.”

They said:

“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.”