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“To be candid…” – RFL’s view of Super League Disciplinary Panel’s charges

Leeds Rhinos

Along with the flurry of cards shown at the start of the season in the Betfred Super League, there has been a major focus on the Match Review Panel and what some may call inconsistencies with the way things are being graded.

For instance, some have criticised the way the match review panel has backed on field decisions with hefty grades only for the grades to be down graded at review.

Speaking to the press, former Super League referee and now RFL official Robert Hicks opened up on the Match Review Panel.

He said: “To be really candid, when you think about a new framework being implemented and we always thought it’d be difficult for the match review panel to understand all the nuances of that framework. And I would say it’s the beauty of the process where coaches and players feel that their charge is too high, that they can come in and have a challenge at an operational rules tribunal. It’s a beautiful independent process that avoids everybody saying it’s about the RFL picking on players or clubs. Have they got everything right?

“Clearly not. And in an ideal world, they would have done. But I think the clarity we’ve received over the first two weeks.

“Together with the ability for the governing body to be nimble and change the guidance to make it clearer, will enable them to make far better informed decisions. They are ex-players and referees and they also need guidance and I think we’ve now got to the place that we need to on that.”

Robert Hicks reflects on Super League tribunals

Hicks also reflected on the Operational Rules Tribunals which have seen things downgraded in recent weeks.

He said: “Of those three incidents, two of them were challenged last week by the clubs involved and the ORT gave greater guidance to the MRP about the mitigating factors that could be found in those types of incident. On the basis of that, the MRP rightly agreed that because Tom Amone was challenging the week after for procedural reasons, that that should also be reflected in the grading of his challenge down to a grade B.

“And I think now we’ve got to the right place in terms of understanding what the mitigating factors are on head-on-head collisions, both on-field referees and match review panel the ability to take the sport with us while we continue to try and reduce the amount of head-on-heads we have. And I think for context, I just need to think carefully about how we communicate about head-on-head collisions.”

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