Many are complaining at the RFL after Warrington Wolves star and England skipper George Williams was banned for two games after a frivolous appeal following a shoulder charge ban which was picked up against St Helens in the week one play off clash between Warrington and Saints.
This is because Williams will now miss the two first games against Kristian Woolf’s Tonga.
However, you can’t blame the RFL for this situation. They have merely applied the rules that exist in the sport.
After all it was clear that George Williams was perhaps guilty of the shoulder charge.
Then it was a risk to appeal the ban in the first place. The RFL simply applied the rules.
Serious About Rugby League reached out to the RFL over this decision and they said: “Frivolous means that the appeal, in the opinion of tribunal members, had no basis or merit to it within the rules and laws of the game.”
Thus, it seems that there was nothing the RFL could do.
St Helens’ Matty Lees also appeared at the tribunal contesting a Grade B shoulder charge and he found himself successful, seeing the appeal dropped from a Grade B and one game ban to a Grade A and a £250 fine.
Lees therefore will be able to play in the test at his home team’s Totally Wicked Stadium on 22nd October.
The Operational Rules Tribunal’s findings were as follows:
“George Williams of Warrington Wolves pleaded guilty to a Grade B charge of a shoulder charge in the Betfred Super League Play-Off at St Helens on September 30, but challenged the grading.
“The independent Operational Rules Tribunal rejected the challenge, and deemed it frivolous, therefore increasing the resulting ban from one match to two.
“Matty Lees of St Helens also pleaded guilty to a Grade B charge of a shoulder charge in the Betfred Super League Play-Off at Catalans Dragons on October 6, and also challenged the grading.
“The independent Operational Rules Tribunal upheld this challenge, downgrading the charge to Grade A, and therefore reducing the punishment from a one-match suspension to a £250 fine.
“Lees will therefore be available for England’s first Test against Tonga on October 22, if selected.”
Losing Williams is a major blow for England given his form at times throughout the season and also his incredible Man of the Match performance in his debut as captain against France.
Talk will quickly turn to who replaces him with the armband but also in the halves for those two games in which he misses with the first game of the series only 11 days away now.