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Super League coach suggests star player is harshly treated by disciplinary panel

It’s been a busy week for the disciplinary process and it all started on Monday when Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and Castleford Tigers stars all found themselves in hot water as Hull KR star Mikey Lewis dodged a ban after his yellow card.

Ethan Havard of Wigan meanwhile was fined for his yellow card offence whilst Sam Kasiano was banned after his yellow card but not for that incident.

In the same game Leeds Rhinos star Blake Austin picked up a ban ruling him out of the clash with Salford Red Devils.

That appeared to be balanced out when Amir Bourouh picked up a suspension of his own but that was overturned as it transpired the wrong punishment was given to him.

Speaking of overturning bans, Liam Watts’ two game ban was over turned at an operational rules tribunal on Tuesday night allowing him to make his 300th appearance.

However there have been suggestions that Watts is harshly treated by the Match Review Panel because of his reputation and his coach Andy Last has weighed in:

“It’s difficult to say. There was a little bit obviously in the contact but there is that element of, how could I put it, his representation does precede him a little bit,” he said.

Last also revealed how the club got him off:

“The club did a great job in getting him off. I put a strong case to the panel and they were in agreement with us. There were four or five similar incidents during the course of the match from both the Castleford players and the St Helens players, which you could argue were similar sorts of an offence. It was a very, very wet night.

“There was a lot of slipping and sliding and people losing their feet. On that occasion, Liam lost his feet a little bit.

“Lewis Dodd obviously makes the decision to run the football. Jack Broadbent makes impact, which allows Lewis to get stiffened up from a contact point of view and isn’t able to fall forward which impacts a little bit on what he does around the legs.

“So we’ve managed to get him off, we’re really, really pleased because we’re a better team when Liam’s in it and finding some form and I think the big thing for Liam is just trying to get a continuous and consistent game time.”

Last also opened up on how these bans have worked against Watts:

“He’s ended up being a couple of games, then he gets a suspension, then he has to sit down for a couple of weeks and in those couple of weeks he’s maybe sat down, another player may have played well and stay in the team so Liam’s had a tough couple of years with regards to being more disciplinary.

“We hope that those misdemeanours behind him and we’ve worked a little bit on his technique and tried to get a little bit more control into his approach to contact and talk about his target area etc.

“So I’m really pleased that Liam’s available this week.”

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