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St Helens star’s offence was “against the spirit of the game” says Match Review Panel

St Helens star Matty Lees will miss tonight’s Challenge Cup clash with Halifax Panthers and then the Saints’ Grand Final rematch against Leeds Rhinos next week.

This is because an operational rules tribunal hit him with a two match ban.

It came after a fiery affair between St Helens and Salford Red Devils which was one of a number of games that featured heavily in the disciplinary.

A huge 16 players charged by the disciplinary panel.

Among those 16 players was Leeds, as well as his teammate Curtis Sironen.

Lees of the Saints has been sent to tribunal for striking.

According to the Match Review Panel minutes the incident was for a strike with an elbow or forearm off the ball which has been branded as reckless.

The tribunal will be heard tomorrow.

“Strikes – Strikes with elbow/forearm – off ball – reckless.”

The RFL have announced tonight that Lees pleaded guilty to the charge and therefore has been hit with a two game ban.

St Helens released their own statement.

“Lees pled guilty to the Grade D charge of a reckless, off the ball strike on a Salford Red Devils opponent during the first half of Saturday’s Betfred Super League fixture.

“As a result of the suspension Lees will therefore be unavailable for the Saints’ fixtures against Halifax Panthers in the Betfred Challenge Cup this Friday night, and next Friday night’s away Super League fixture against Leeds Rhinos.”

In the notes provided on the operational rules tribunal, they confirmed that they felt Lees’ actions were against the spirit of the game.

The notes state:

“The Panel believed that your actions were unnecessary, have led to an injury and are against the true spirit of the game.”

The tribunal however didn’t give Lees a longer ban despite removing the penalty notice.

This was because there was no medical evidence provided on the injury Lees caused.

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