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Super League star suggests he’s harshly treated by disciplinary panel

Liam Watts hasn’t got the best disciplinary record.

One of the best forwards over the last decade or more, he is from a different era and thus in these more stringent times, it is unsurprising to see Watts cop a ban of two.

“It just comes down to the bans that I’ve had and that sort of stuff. It’s just really upset my game and how I play. But at the end of the day, the game’s changing,” Watts said on the increasing toughness in disciplinary when speaking to BBC Radio Leeds.

“So I’ve had these conversations, obviously we’ve had this previously, and just got to change the game and start being subtle about it but not lose that edge. There’s a fine margin of having that edge.

“I think slowly, or the last, up to me doing my shoulder, the last four or five games I’ve been getting into a groove where I’m playing it alright, so we’ll just see how it goes.

“It’s the mind, isn’t it? It’s what’s instilled from a young age. Obviously, you play a certain way for 15, 16 years and then they just expect it to be completely just abolished.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the sharpest knife in the draw. Do you know what I mean? It’s just one of them things in it, but there’s a reason why they’re doing it.

“I completely understand the reason why they’re doing it. Obviously, player safety and all that sort of stuff. But there’s an element that people that watch the game and play the game is a certain way that the game is played and why fans watch it.

“So, everybody that I speak to and every comment that I see on that RFL disciplinary every week, it speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

“Obviously, the last thing I want to see is the game losing fans because of all the stuff that’s going off at the minute with it.”

However, Watts believes he gets treated harshly by the panel because of his history:

“I just seem to be in the spotlight 24-7 with it. Yeah, like I said, I shouldn’t do but I do read the comments every now and again and they put dangerous contact on there and people just automatically think that I’ve just whacked somebody in the back. It’s not like that.

“There’s all sorts of different types of dangerous contacts. I got done for falling on the back of somebody’s leg which was just a tackle that couldn’t be helped. It’s still classed as dangerous contact.

“I’ve seen that tackle a thousand times and I’ve had it done to myself. It’s just rugby league. We’re 17 stone blokes that are trying to tackle somebody.

“Obviously, if they’re bringing this in with the armpit and underneath the armpit and lowering your body position, you’re going to end up tackling round the legs anyway.. It’s a catch 22 really in my eyes.

“They bring the fine system in to obviously fine us but because of my previous record I don’t get fined, I still get banned because I get the top end of the ban every time so I’m still getting banned.

“Others are either getting 250 or whatever they’re getting, but like I said, they brought all the fine stuff in, but I still seem to be picking up bans.

“Yeah, I’m just trying play as clean as possible without being too soft and trying to keep that edge physically and to keep on the front foot.

“We haven’t got the biggest pack, so I’ve got to try and play with some sort of aggression and some sort of size about me and put it to good use.

“So I am doing everything possible that I can in training and like I said, I am doing stuff in training to try and cut out those little bits of errors in my game. But it’s tough, it’s a fast physical sport. Sometimes it’s hard to try and fully eradicate it.”

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