Leeds Rhinos star James McDonnell has avoided a two match ban for punching after an appeal tonight.
The RFL’s Operational Rules Tribunal explained that the man he was accused of punching, Jonny Lomax, was bleeding before the incident and that no punch could be seen in the footage reviewed which was far beyond that seen on Sky Sports.
The tribunal explained:
“We directed ourselves in accordance with the appropriate burden and standard of proof namely that the Compliance Manager bears the burden of proof and has to establish that the misconduct has occurred to the reasonable satisfaction of the tribunal bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation. The standard of proof is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We reviewed footage including a substantial amount of footage that had not been broadcast and footage which had not been seen by the Match Review Panel.
“The player together with Matt Cook [Leeds Rhinos General Manager] took us through a detailed analysis of the footage. It showed beyond doubt that Jonny Lomax was injured and bleeding heavily before the incident involving James McDonnell.
“No punch can be seen on the footage, and it was conceded by the RFL Compliance Manager on behalf of the Match Review Panel that the footage was inconclusive.”