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Super League official says Catalans Dragons “enhance” Super League but says punishment was necessary after “unacceptable incident”

In September, as fans were swept away by the excitement of the Super League play-offs, Leeds Rhinos began a surprise run to the Grand Final with a win over Catalans Dragons away from home.

A Liam Sutcliffe hat-trick coupled with a flawless night with the boot from Zak Hardaker in the absence of the suspended and record chasing Rhyse Martin sent the Rhinos to the semi-finals where they met Wigan Warriors.

However, the night was overshadowed by an incident that the Dragons have now admitted to.

The club acknowledge that supporters had thrown items on to the field of play during the fixture against Leeds, with matters escalating in the 78th minute when the touch-judges felt it necessary to take evasive action as they stood behind the posts.

Now Super League referee Robert Hicks has spoken out on the decision to punish the Dragons by fining them £25,000.

Now the RFL’s Director of Operations and Legal said that the Dragons “enhance” Super League but that this was the latest in a series of “unacceptable incidents.”

Though he is pleased by the club’s response. He said:

“This is a strong punishment and it is significant and welcome that this is a decision that has been agreed with the Catalans club.

“The presence of their club and the passion of their supporters has enhanced the Super League competition significantly for more than a decade, but the scenes during and after the Play-Off fixture in September were the latest in a number of unacceptable incidents.

“The RFL welcomes the assurance from the Catalans club that they will work proactively with their supporters to ensure a more welcoming environment for all, including match officials, from 2023.”

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